Where's the beef? On dining tables across America, according to Bloomberg. Americans are on track to eat more red meat this year than in the pervious 12 months for the first time since 2006, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimating people will consume 54.3 pounds of beef in 2016.
A combination of cheaper beef prices and a larger inventory of cattle across the country fueled a push towards increased beef consumption, with the USDA noting current cattle counts at a five-year high. With beef at a lower price point, some restaurants have added new deals to promote beef-based menu items.
Wendy's is offering a 4 for $4 deal, which includes a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink. Burger King offers a similar deal, with a bacon cheeseburger, crispy chicken nuggets, small fries, a small drink, and a chocolate chip cookie going for $4.
Chris Himmel, who owns Grill 23 & Bar in Boston and serves as executive vice president of Himmel Hospitality Group, said he had seen an increase in purchasing volume for beef at the restaurant in the past few years.
"While our beef vs non beef entree sales have historically been steady at 70% beef, 30% non-beef we've definitely seen it skew more in favor of beef in recent years as guests discover alternative cuts such as Skirt Steak, Hangar Steak, Bavette Steak, and others that, at lower price points compared to more luxurious cuts such as Sirloin, Filet or Ribeye, make it much more approachable to satisfy their craving for a flavorful steak," he shared with Eater.
Predictions for 2016 suggest a decline in the cost of burgers, which averaged anywhere between $6.24 and $9.52 in cities across the country in 2015, as American cattle are now much fatter than usual and going for higher prices. Still, Americans eat more chicken than red meat, with projected consumption for this year at 91.8 pounds.
Update 3/29 3:00 p.m.: This post has been updated to include a statement from a Boston restaurateur familiar with beef sales.