Cattle herd numbers have yet to recover from consecutive years of drought and herd liquidation, but as beef supplies remain tight and beef prices remain high, consumer are becoming disgruntled.

A new Rabobank report shows global beef supplies are steady with 2012 levels as herd sizes in the United States remain light and drought conditions drive the cattle market lower in Australia and New Zealand.

Rabobank analyst Albert Vernooij says economic forces are leading consumers to take a second look at budgets and question the relative value proposition for beef compared to the cheaper alternatives of chicken and pork.

“The broader picture for demand still points to tempered consumer appetite to paying high prices for beef as increases in disposable income worldwide appear to be slowing and threats of inflation continue across the globe,” Vernooij said.