The United States beef industry has been hit hard and so has almost all industries and businesses by the novel coronavirus pandemic which began late last year. According to a new study commissioned by a meat lobby group National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and compiled by a team of economists, The United States beef industry may lose $13.6 billion due to the pandemic.
In April, the Trump administration said it would bail out the meat and dairy industry but buying $15.5 million worth of animal products. This study will be used to determine the allocation of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act relief funds to the cattle industry.
The study published in 20-page document detail the statistic collected and was summarized as “Effects of COVID-19 are still manifesting and are likely to continue unfolding in the coming months,”. “Without relief, especially at the primary producer levels, the foundations of the entire US beef supply chain are threatened.”
Because of this pandemic, the country has been experiencing a meat shortage, with fast-food chains such as Wendy’s removing beef from its menu and others limiting the amount of beef customers can purchase. This meat shortage was primarily caused by the closure of meat slaughterhouses including Tyson’s largest pork plant after over a huge number of positive cases of the coronavirus in the united states were linked to animal slaughterhouses. A report by Business Insider stated that 4,585 positive COVID 19 cases across 15 states have been linked to Tyson workers alone.
Trump’s executive order has caused some of the slaughterhouses to begin reopening, but many workers fear that reopening will put them and their communities at higher risk of getting infected. Some workers have filed lawsuits against meat companies for failing to provide a safe workplace.
Because of the COVID 19 pandemic, according to Wall Street analyst Jim Cramer, the meat industry has changed in a way that places plant-based meat companies as a more sustainable, efficient, and safe option.
As animal meat shortages continue, MarketsandMarket a market research firms predict that plant-based meat sales will grow from $3.6 billion in 2020 to $4.2 billion by 2021, partly caused by consumers’ fears of contracting diseases from animals such as the COVID 19. And plant-based companies are coming in to fill the void left by the absence of animal beef, with Impossible foods expanding its retail distribution to 1,700 Kroger stores and Beyond Meat planning to cut prices and offer “value” bulk packs to bring in new customers to its plant-based meat products.