Cobb County

Grocery stores limit sales of meat as shortages grow

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — You may already have found that meat and poultry are scant at the grocery store -- and now you may find it getting more expensive, too.

Costco is following Kroger’s lead in limiting the amount of meat customers can buy at one time.

Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose was in Marietta where an economist said you can expect to pay more, too.

Basically, it boils down to Economics 101: When there are shortages of a specific good, prices will go up. The question is how much.


Kroger said there is plenty of protein in the supply chain, but some processors are experiencing challenges. Tyson Foods is one example. The chicken producer warned of continued slowdowns and temporary idling of plants during the pandemic.

According to the UFCW, America's largest food union, more than 20 meatpacking plants around the U.S. have closed at some point in the last two months, reducing pork and beef production.

Kennesaw State University economics professor Roger Tutterow said retailers and wholesalers will try to maintain some discipline in regards to pricing, but he said there will be some upward pressure.

"The magnitude of the price change depends on how drastic the shortages become,” Tutterow said. “And I think you will some upward pressure on prices, but I think the politics and the branding of having really high prices will not be desirable.”

Jose talked to Ginny Jarvis, a frequent Costco shopper. The wife and mother of three was at the Kennesaw location Tuesday morning and didn’t find what she was looking for.

“I went into the meat section and there was no ground beef left,” Jarvis said. “There was no chicken. I wanted to get some chicken breast and some chicken thighs.”

Signs are posted that say all beef, pork and poultry is limited to three packages per member in a single shopping trip. The wholesaler said this will ensure “more members are able to purchase merchandise that they want and need.”

Tutterow said the fact that Costco is worried about disruptions speaks volumes.

Jarvis said she plans to cut back her grocery list.

“It’s going to add up, and I’m very frugal when it comes to spending,” Jarvis said.

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