How the nation's meat supply could impact Houston stores

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As meat processing plants start to slowly reopen this week, local experts say Houstonians will see prices for certain meats increase.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week to order meat processing plants to stay open amid concerns over growing coronavirus cases and the impact on the nation's food supply.

Dr. Jason Riley, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at Sam Houston State University, said while the demand has remained the same, the supply has shrunk, especially some of the specialized cuts people are used to seeing in stores.

"It's just the supply, the plants are unable to produce as much as necessary or as much as we'd like to see across the board," Riley said. "As we start seeing shortages, it will be (more) of the fresh meats. Buy what you need. Don't try to hoard. We saw this in the beginning. People were buying toilet paper, Lysol, when they didn't always need it. You don't need thousands of pounds of meat. If you do take it, you may be taking it from your neighbor."

Owner of Farmer's Fresh Meat Nate Abdallah said he has seen the price for certain meats, such as chicken, beef and pork start to spike.

He said at his meat markets they are trying to get the best deal for customers and even process their own meat to cut out the middle man.

"We've been staying consistent because we're trying to see how many people we can help at the same time, not being able to lose," Abdallah said.

Chain grocery stores announced they will start limiting the amount of meat people can buy at one time.

A spokesperson with HEB said the product limits will apply to all of their stores.
"H-E-B has a strong supply of meat product for our stores. Product limits are in place to protect the supply chain and ensure all customers have access to the products they need and leave some for their neighbors."

4 packages of ground beef per shopping trip/transaction

4 packages chicken per shopping trip/transaction

2 Briskets

Kroger released the following statement, Monday afternoon:

"At Kroger, we feel good about our ability to maintain a broad assortment of meat and seafood for our customers because we purchase protein from a diverse network of suppliers. There is plenty of protein in the supply chain; however, some processors are experiencing challenges. To ensure all customers have access to fresh protein, we have added purchase limits on pork, beef and chicken."

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