The U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Service estimates retail beef and chicken prices are poised to rise in 2019, while pork prices could continue to decline.
Beef production expanded further in 2018 fueled by higher carcass weights combined with more cattle slaughtered as beef marketings remained high throughout the full year. USDA said retail beef prices are expected to rise 2% in 2019, on the heels of a 2.25% rise in 2018. Higher prices are a result of strong overall demand for beef.
Excess chicken relative to supply kept a lid on chicken prices in 2018, but USDA projects a 2% rise in retail chicken prices in 2019. Feed costs are expected to be lower which should help margins of chicken processors like Tyson Foods.
USDA expects retail pork prices to be slightly cheaper in 2019 as a result of expanding processing coming online. As beef and chicken prices increase, consumers are expected to make meat substitutions to lower-priced pork.
USDA also forecasts the cost for eating out at restaurants will increase 3% in 2019, slightly more than the 2.5% uptick in prices seen in 2018.