While Americans are busy reinforcing their masculinity through grilling this Fourth of July, they better say a prayer for Big Meat. Market analysts are predicting to Bloomberg that massive meat processors like Tyson Foods may have taken a hit to their bottom lines this spring. It seems the season’s extreme, inclement weather may have kept beef and pork lovers away from their backyard Weber Grills.
Regions of the Great Plains and Midwest were absolutely pummeled this spring by rainfall that caused flooding and made it nearly impossible for most corn and soybean farmers to plant crops. The short and wet spring season, it appears, also resulted in slow sales growth in the spice category, and a large enough dip in demand for products like ribs, sausages, and chicken wings that wholesale prices have plummeted to their lowest levels for the grilling high season in more than a decade. Some fear that the historically wet weather could continue into the summer, further dampening the prime 2019 backyard barbecue time and keeping consumers who don’t like smoking ribs in a rainstorm inside.
Polish sausage may be struggling, but there’s still hope for burgers: “This is definitely shaping up to be the year of the burger,” one analyst told Bloomberg, adding that sales have exceeded previous years. So on this, the eve of America’s independence, perhaps it’s time to finally recognize that unpredictable weather is only going to get worse from here. Let’s do the patriotic thing and seriously embrace climate change legislation — or else face a bleak future in which outdoor grilled beef is no longer what’s for dinner.