Beef demand continues to amaze

As cattle and beef prices continue to set record highs, a common question among cattlemen is “will we reach a point where people stop eating beef?”

John Lundeen, senior executive director of market research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says beef demand remains strong and shows no signs of weakening.  But is there a price level that will cause people to stop buying beef?

beef-meatcase“I always say it’s not a cliff—it’s like a slow hill that you climb.  At every price, there’s another family that has to cut back a little bit on their beef consumption,” Lundeen says. “People are spending just as much on beef, but they may be getting less pounds.  And with supply down, we are in a situation where people are going to get a little less beef than they have historically.”

But while the higher prices have caused some consumers to cut back on their consumption, Lundeen doesn’t think beef-eating habits have been altered long-term.

“When people have more money in their pocket, they want to buy beef.  We’re seeing more pounds sold in food service,” he says. “So I look at the underlying dynamics driving the beef industry and I feel quite positive.”

We talked to Lundeen at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver.

AUDIO: John Lundeen (5:06 MP3)

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