With some meat processing plants temporarily closing over coronavirus-related issues, future trips to the grocery store may look different, according to some experts.
Joe Lane, who owns the Villa Park Market, says prices on meat cuts like top rounds and chuck roasts are already increasing.
“I think we can get through the next two weeks and be okay, but I don’t know what’s going to happen after that,” he said. “I mean, as the demand stays high, if the supply drops a little bit, the prices are going to get high.”
While most grocers say they’re not seeing any issues with meat supplies, they say consumers may see issues with meat selection.
Illinois is the fourth-largest pork producer in the country, but the state’s pork association says farmers are running out of room for their pigs as plants continue to close.
“Our farmers are working with their herd veterinarians and nutritionists to change their diets because they will keep growing, obviously,” spokeswoman Jennifer Tirey said. “We are holding them on farms as long as we can.”
In the meantime, grocers want to send a simple message to shoppers: don’t panic.
“Everybody’s home for three meals a day, and you need to buy more stuff, so we understand that part,” Lane said. “But there’s no reason to come in and buy 60 pounds of ground beef.”
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says the state is monitoring the meat supply chain, but says that officials do not believe there will be a significant problem with the food supply moving forward.