Prices for a variety of proteins including beef, pork, chicken and fish are on the rise- but so far Americans are still chowing down. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Schatzie the Butcher thought he'd seen it all in his five decades selling meat in New York City. But lately, prices have left him shaking his head: SOUNDBITE: SCHATZIE, OWNER, SCHATZIE THE BUTCHER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The prices are really insane. I mean every week something changes. I just got a delivery a little while ago. I called him on the phone. This has to be a mistake. Can't go up a dollar and a half in one week! No, no mistake. That's what it is. So you make a few calls and you find out that that's exactly what it is. Veal is ridiculous. Everything." He's not alone: Beef and veal prices up more than 10 percent- largely because of a drought. So a one pound ground beef burger- will cost $3.85 cents to buy - up from $3.31 a year ago. Pork prices - soaring more than 12 percent- a virus known as PEDV killing young piglets. Then chicken- prices moving higher as consumers switch out of beef and pork. And fish and seafood- another alternative for consumers- seeing a jump as well. Bob Young is the Chief Economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation: SOUNDBITE: BOB YOUNG, CHIEF ECONOMIST, AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are down to a beef cow herd about the same size we had back in the early 1950's so again there are just not the supplies out there. That has driven up the price of beef really across the board. You know, usually where we have had tight beef supplies we'd see a particular cuts go up in price, and other cuts maybe not be so expensive. Let folks move down market if you will. But now we are seeing the hamburger prices up substantially as well." REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: A typical piece of beef like this one is now costing Schatzie's here in New York City about 30 percent more than it did just a couple of months ago- so far though they are not raising prices for consumers. That could soon change. SOUNDBITE: SCHATZIE, OWNER, SCHATZIE THE BUTCHER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are going to have to raise the prices now after summer. It's just you can't do this anymore." He's counting on regular customers- like artist Clayton Calvert: SOUNDBITE: CLAYTON CALVERT, ARTIST AND SCHATZE'S CUSTOMER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I do think about prices but I think that certain things I mean I'm not going to stop eating meat if the price of meat goes up I mean I am still going to eat hamburgers and steak I mean those are irreplaceable items." But that doesn't mean it won't pinch: SOUNDBITE: BOB YOUNG, CHIEF ECONOMIST, AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's a noticeable thing. We certainly feel it. Certainly some of the lower income folks it's going to be a larger percentage but overall doesn't tend to drive folks all that much or change spending habits all that much. It will some. The Fed will certainly pay attention to it." One sweet spot? The cost of sugars and candy has been going down.