COVID surge causes meat prices to rise

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The prices of meat have skyrocketed during the beginning of the year and the owner of Burbage Meats says that price increase is due in large part to COVID.

Burbage Meats co-owner, Scott Hodges, says this increase in meat prices is due to the recent COVID surge.

“Historically,” Hodges said. “January, the winter months, prices usually go down. But, since we’ve had COVID, prices have shot up, sometimes three to four times.”

Hodges says many packing plants affected by COVID are still trying to recover, which increases the price you pay in stores.

“Less workers,” he said. “Obviously, you got less people running the line. You got less products moving out. So, prices have gone up just by that, simple supply and demand.”

He says consumers are paying double what they were this time last year.

“Across the board,” Hodges said. “Mostly all proteins have gone up. Especially beef and poultry. The poultry market and the beef market is just almost out of control.”

Even with prices climbing, he hasn’t noticed a difference in the number of customers they serve.

“People still have to eat and they want quality food,” Hodges said. “We don’t see many families sacrificing quality just for price.”

Hodges says it’s certainly difficult to be a butcher shop owner during COVID.

“It’s really scary,” he said. “Especially when you see last week the price I paid for chicken went up 25 percent from what it was last week.”

Experts say they’re not sure when prices could return to normal, but higher prices are expected for at least a few more months.

Hodges says that although beef and poultry prices have increased, the price of pork has remained relatively the same.

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