The retail price of beef has increased by 15% compared to the same period last year

CAMPBELLSBURG, Ky. — Growing up on a farm, Chris Wright always imagined working in the agricultural industry.

“We always wanted to find a way to make a living doing it,” said Wright, co-owner of Trackside Butcher Shoppe. “It was hard to make a living farming, so we did the next best thing and tried to make a living helping farmers.”

What do you want to know

  • Campbellsburg butcher sees customers changing shopping habits to save money
  • Retail beef prices are up 15% from the same period last year
  • UK meat specialist offers consumers ways to save when visiting the grocery store

After noticing a great need for meat processing in their hometown, Wright and his partner, John Edwards, started Trackside Butcher Shoppe in Campbellsburg. Lately, Wright has seen the buying habits of its customers change.

“Before, they relied on big grocery stores to have products in stock all the time. You can’t count on that anymore, so we see a lot of people wanting to buy in bulk to try to save money and to make sure they have something in their freezer,” Wright said.

That’s because the USDA’s national retail report shows the retail price of beef is up 15% from the same time last year. Gregg Rentfrow, professor of meat science at the University of Kentucky, explained that rising gasoline prices and labor shortages are contributing to higher meat prices.

“Processing speeds are increasing. We are harvesting more animals but we are not quite at pre-covid numbers yet. What drives a lot of that is hard work,” Rentfrow explained.

A Trackside Butcher Shoppe employee packs hamburger meat. (Spectrum News 1/Erin Wilson)

Buying in bulk, planning ahead and stockpiling meat are just a few of the ways consumers can save, and Wright sees it firsthand at his store.

“Right now we’re booked two years in advance for anyone who wants to have a beef processed, so the main thing we’re trying to tell people is to plan ahead,” Wright said.

As well as breaking down the meat you buy.

“If I go to a grocery store, I can buy a whole boneless pork loin, and that whole boneless pork loin maybe $15-20, and so I can cut that whole boneless pork loin into individual chops and save a lot of money,” Rentfrow said.

This is an option that Wright offers to all of its customers.

“Once they try us, they realize that I can butcher beef and I can do whatever I want. When you go to the store, you might not have a choice of this variety,” Wright said.

Rentfrow also pointed out that consumers should consider loyalty cards and programs as another way to save on groceries.