(Article first published on BusinessTech.co.za)

South African consumers should brace themselves for a massive hike in red meat prices, warned Agri Eastern Cape analyst and national vice-chairman of the Red Meat Producers Organisation, Pieter Prinsloo

Prinsloo noted that beef prices are expected to increase by well over 30% this year, as livestock farmers battle to rebuild their herds after a three-year drought.

“This decrease in animals sent to the slaughter has led to a price hike in beef of approximately 30 percent, which is unfortunately much higher than the year-on-year hike of between five and six percent,” said Prinsloo.

“This is expected to rise even further in the near future due to the limited availability of slaughter stock.”

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Sheep less affected

Prinsloo noted that sheep were typically less affected by drought conditions than cattle and have a shorter reproduction cycle, so the recovery of the national herd would be faster.

However, he noted that while price increases for lamb and mutton would be less than the hikes for beef, consumers could still expect a 5% increase – on par with the year-on-year price increases.

This is in line with Absa’s agricultural outlook for mutton in 2017, which noted that consumers should also expect similar to above average increases to the price of pork in 2017.

However Absa’s report noted that the price of eggs and poultry was likely to remain or flat or even see decrease over the course of the year due to an overabundance of stock on the market.

Adjusted 2017 price table (Beef)

The following tables are based on current pricing information as provided by Retail Price Watch. It is intended to show the effect of the approximate price hikes and not as an exact price guide.