As you may be aware, the meat production industry has been receiving wide media attention in the wake of the novel coronavirus. Land & Sea has been fortunate enough to continue meeting our customers’ needs, though often with great effort.
Unfortunately, things are becoming more difficult. To understand the reasons why, we need to examine the chain that leads from cattle ranches to kitchen tables.
The U.S. is home to a rich diversity of ranchers, and the availability of cattle is actually plentiful. Furthermore, the beef industry saw a spike in consumer demand as the pandemic set in, followed by a decline in the weeks after. As a result of everyone stocking up, industry prices have actually shown signs of falling in the last few weeks.
The problem lies in the middle. There are four large meat-packing companies that process about 90% of the country’s beef. Their massive facilities are filled with workers who are in close proximity to each other for the duration of the day. As such, these production sites have been victim to a prolific spread of COVID-19. Despite efforts to adapt, many facilities have been shut down because of the pandemic. One of the largest of the largest meat-packing companies has announced that production will likely drop to 50% of its normal rate, for at least the next several weeks.
Amidst all of this, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned over the availability of meat products. This rise in demand is occurring alongside a considerable drop in production. This imbalance has provoked an increase in prices, which have already increased significantly and will likely continue to do so. There may also be a shortage of some products between now and late May.
How is this affecting the products available at Land & Sea?
An advantage of being a smaller business is the ability to respond quickly. While we are working to secure supply as rapidly as possible, our production cost and pricing will follow these trends. We anticipate covering our needs effectively in the interim, but we may need to substitute components of our Community Boxes in coming weeks. We will do our best to keep you informed of our weekly product availability.
Thank you for supporting Land & Sea in this challenging time. We will do everything in our power to continue offering high quality products at competitive prices.
President Ron McCormick and the forty team members of Land & Sea