Bloomberg reports that "after years of butcher-counter sticker shock, Americans are likely to see a drop in meat prices thanks to an unlikely ally: the emerging renewable fuel industry.
"Processing the vast amounts of soybeans needed to make the plant-based jet fuel and diesel required to lower US emissions will also create mountains of co-product soymeal, widely used in animal feed. The less expensive it is for meatpackers to feed their animals, the more meat they’ll produce, ultimately trickling down to lower prices at the grocery store."
Bloomberg notes that "it will undoubtedly take months or even years for the cost savings to work their way down the supply chain. Still, any drop in meat costs will bring welcome relief to inflation-fatigued households. Although the consumer price index for core goods, which excludes energy and food, ended 2023 at the weakest pace in more than two years, the prices of some basic grocery items have been sticky.
"Meat inflation has been particularly stubborn. Retail chicken breast prices, which averaged less than $3 a pound in March 2020, soared to $4.75 a pound in September 2022. Prices have since inched back to earth but are still elevated, US Department of Agriculture data show. With Americans eating around 100 pounds of chicken a year, the price hikes are hard to ignore. Lower-income consumers are more likely to trade down or walk away from high-priced meat versus groceries overall."
Of course, none of this happens in a vacuum: "To be sure, meat prices are also influenced by a number of other factors including the availability of corn — the other key feed component — as well as labor, logistical disruptions, animal disease outbreaks and consumer demand."