WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — With the holiday season quickly approaching, the demand for meat such as ham, turkey, brisket, and beef will soon surge. With meat prices increasing by the day, how much will consumers be willing to pay?
Prices on consumers’ favorite meats are increasing not just from the rising public demand, the labor shortages have contributed to the inflation as well as the lack of inventory butchers and other retailers are facing nationwide.
Red Barn Butchers look to be fully stocked and ready to provide to its customers, but with the holiday demand around the corner, owner Eric Kennedy worries about rising costs and inventory shortages.
“It’s a little bit slow everywhere talking to other people, everybody’s trying to watch every penny right now and a lot of people are coming out of the unemployment thing and so that’s kind of wreaking havoc,” Kennedy said.
Butchers are hard-pressed to find any product that isn’t on backorder, even if they already paid for it.
“I don’t know what this holiday is going to be like that’s my scary part. I just got a phone call today that hams that I prebooked back in August, I’m not getting,” Kennedy said.
Meat prices have increased nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, meat prices have averaged an increase of 4.5 percent from 2020 to 2021.
“There are basically four major packers and they’re pretty much telling you this is how much we’ll pay for them, this is what we’re selling for them, and you don’t have much of a choice because that’s your go-to,” Kennedy said.
The food industry is also facing issues with labor shortages across the U.S., making it difficult for restaurants and other food industries to receive products on time.
But there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for Kennedy.
He plans on opening his own slaughterhouse in order to chop out the middle man and save his customers money.
For now, Kennedy hopes that the community chooses to chop and eat locally during this period of price surges.
Kennedy recently opened his second location, located at 1720 Cimarron Trail.
You can keep up with Red Barn’s weekly specials on their Facebook page.