Meat increasingly off the menu at home as prices surge

Source: Radio New Zealand

Shoppers say meat is increasingly off the menu in favour of cheaper alternatives, as inflation hits.

A file photo of fresh meat at a supermarket.

A newspaper from 2011 in RNZ's newsroom showed a Countdown ad, with beef mince at $6.80 for 1kg. At Countdown in 2022, 1kg of beef mince is $14.50. Double what it was just over 10 years ago.

"We've got to acknowledge the food basket across the board is becoming challenging for many Kiwi households," Beef and Lamb NZ chief executive Kit Arkwright told RNZ's Checkpoint.

He said as 90 percent of beef and lamb produced in New Zealand was exported, local prices were driven by the price those overseas were willing to pay.

"There is strong demand for global protein. At the same time, we have seen impacts on the supply side. So big exporting nations like Brazil have had a BSE [mad cow disease] outbreak, Argentina have been limiting their exports, Australia are rebuilding their herd," Arkwright said.

"Those factors come together and they do put pressure here domestically on the price."

All of that leaving Kiwi carnivores petrified by the price of their favourites.

Statistics NZ's latest Food Price Index shows meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 3.6 percent between December 2021 and January 2022

Meat prices were 5.7 percent up in January compared to a year ago.

"We're an export country, we don't consume nearly as much as what we export, so we pay worldwide prices," Well Hung butcher owner Todd Treadwell told Checkpoint.

"Freight costs are all going up, everything's going up, which is just bumping the prices up," he said.

"We're definitely in an inflation climate, it's going to just keep growing. It's climbing every week."