U.S. wholesale beef prices rose to an all-time high on Friday as the delayed spring grilling season is heating up and as supermarkets buy meat for the May 27 U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend, commonly seen as the unofficial start of the summer cookout season, analysts said.
The cold soggy start to spring put outdoor cookouts on hold throughout most of April, but temperatures are seen climbing in the coming weeks, prompting grocers to stock up for a seasonal bump in sales of steaks, burgers and other cookout favorites.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday reported the wholesale price for choice beef, commonly called the cutout, at $201.68 per 100 lbs (cwt), eclipsing the previous record of $201.18 set on Oct 16, 2003.
“You’re now finally getting the seasonal rally occurring for beef that’s about three-weeks late getting started,” said Chicago-based Linn Group analyst John Ginzel.
“I suspect some retailers are booking product for Memorial Day features,” he said.