Albany-- The temperatures are heating up and grills are getting fired up too. But your cookout could cost you more.
"I like the filet, like porterhouse, T-bone, of course hamburger is always good," says customer Greg Bonner. Customers looking for beef are finding it at Carrol's Sausage and Meats. "I bought a ribeye steak, black angus," says Bonner.
"We've had a major influx of customers looking for the beef," says Store Manager Dennis Ready. That demand for red meat is growing. "Beef is definitely on the rise," says Ready.
Right along with the increase of beef consumption, the prices of beef have also increased. They've come up from about $2.90 a pound back in 1999 to the current prices of over $4.00 a pound. "Yeah it's gone up just a little bit. I'd say overall probably a dollar, a dollar and a half, maybe even two dollars," says Ready.
In April, the average retail price for a pound of choice beef ballooned to $4.25 close to the record high of $4.32 in 2003. "I'd say it's supply and demand especially during the summertime," says Ready. Summertime's a time for grilling and barbequing. "Oh yes sir, It's summertime. Everybody's cooking out," says Ready.
Another reason for higher prices may be the reduction in herd sizes because a drought out west limited the amount of grass, the main food supply for cattle. "If they're affected then it will in turn affect us. Even things as minor as gasoline prices and shipping can also increase prices so," says Ready.
A portion of that is passed on to customers and many are feeling it in their pockets. "Yeah I noticed like everything else, it's going up," says customer Dennis Dyson. But despite it all, the good taste is outweighing the budget for many.
"You have to eat and just continue to pay the price," says Dyson. "The stuff that's good is always more expensive," says Bonner.
Most are willing to pay the extra price for that extra side of beef.
Workers at Carrol's say that prices of beef may go down slightly after the summer season. They also say more competition among meat distributors may also bring the prices down altogether. The cheaper meats at the market are usually top sirloin, cubed steak and of course good old ground beef.