Food Prices Near Record High… Meat ‘Sticker Shock’ Looms…


(Bloomberg) — Global food costs jumped last month, extending a march toward a record and piling more inflationary pressure on consumers and governments.

A United Nations index tracking staples from wheat to vegetable oils climbed 3% to a fresh decade high in October, threatening even higher grocery bills for households that have already been strained by the pandemic. That could also add to central banks’ inflation worries and risks worsening global hunger that’s at a multiyear high.

Bad weather hit harvests around the world this year, freight costs soared and labor shortages have roiled the food supply chain from farms to supermarkets. An energy crisis has also proved a headache, forcing vegetable greenhouses to go dark and causing a knock-on risk of bigger fertilizer bills for farmers.

Bloomberg) — With the pandemic igniting a collective reassessment of work, imagine posting openings for low-wage jobs that could require standing for 12-hour shifts, working six-day weeks and repeatedly lifting 70-pound objects in conditions that range from steaming hot to bloody and ice cold. And on top of all that, your industry recently made headlines for Covid-19 outbreaks that killed workers.

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This is precisely what meatpackers are facing.

Of all the industries experiencing crunches for hourly labor, it’s hard to find one with a greater recruiting challenge. Companies have tried all the usual tricks to lure applicants, including offering signing bonuses of as much as $3,000, but they’re still short workers and, as a result, there are an increasing number of sparse shelves.

For America’s meateaters, this is a problem. Some cuts have soared 25% over the past year, while others are fetching near record prices, making meat one of the biggest contributors to pandemic inflation. And industry experts expect meat to keep gaining through the holidays and beyond.

“The sticker shock is what we all need to be prepared for,” said Bindiya Vakil, chief executive officer of supply-chain consultant Resilinc. “This is here to stay, at least through the summer of 2022.”


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