Americans are cutting back on steak as rising grocery prices squeeze spending.
Supermarkets say shoppers are buying more store-brand meat products and trading down from beef to less-expensive alternatives such as chicken or pork, after prices for products such as rib-eye climbed about 40% from a year ago, according to research firm IRI. Some consumers are replacing boneless chicken breast with cheaper bone-in chicken, retailers said.
Retailers said they are securing larger amounts of cheaper meat products as they anticipate more shoppers will seek bargains.
With consumers already dealing with the fastest price increases in decades, another unwelcome uptick is on the horizon: a widely expected increase in winter heating bills.
After plunging during the pandemic as the global economy slowed, energy prices have roared upward. Natural gas, used to heat almost half of U.S. households, has almost doubled in price since this time last year. The price of crude oil — which deeply affects the 10 percent of households that rely on heating oil and propane during the winter — has soared by similarly eye-popping levels.
And those costs are being quickly passed through to consumers, who have become accustomed to cheaper energy prices in recent years and now find themselves with growing concerns about inflation this year.