Higher U.S. prices push beef exports to shrink; domestic demand holding steady

Quality of beef available to the consumer has never been better.

While the overall pace of inflation has shifted to more normal levels since last summer, food prices are still increasing. The 2024 Rabobank BBQ Index, which measures the cost of staple ingredients for a 10-person barbecue, puts this year’s Fourth of July cookout at $99, up from $97 last year and $73 in 2018. Beer, beef, soda and lettuce account for 64% of total barbecue cost.

Lance Zimmerman, Rabobank senior analyst – Animal Protein, says when it comes to price increases within the meat case, specifically within the beef category, it’s best to take a look at what’s happening at the herd and ranch level.