Tyson Foods announced Wednesday that it will be temporarily discounting meat prices to restaurants and grocery stores through Saturday.
The discounts will be from 20% to 30% for ground beef, roasts and other beef products. The company said it is responding to the rise in meat prices because some processing plants have shut down due to COVID-19 infections among its workers.
Tyson processes about a fifth of the nation’s beef, according to MarketWatch, and beef represents about a third of its $42.4 billion in annual sales.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that because of plant closures, production of red meat is down about 28% over the same period last year, and wholesale prices for some meats have more than tripled since March. Ground beef, for example, is selling at $6.21 a pound, and those costs are being passed on to consumers.
At the same time, the USDA says cattle prices have dropped in many areas.
Overall, grocery prices increased by 2.6% in April, the largest one-month hike since February 1974, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Although prices went up across the board, meat, fish and eggs led the way, increasing by 4.3%.
“The ongoing pandemic has disrupted the food system, Tyson Foods said in a statement. “It’s created challenges for our operations, many of our customers and consumers. These are unprecedented times, and although they have been difficult, Tyson believes that the future is bright.”