COVID-19: An Update on America's meat supply

COVID-19: An Update on America's meat supply

Posted by Luis Mata on

Almost a month ago we discussed how America was not going to run out of meat, but that the expectation was for pricing of beef to fluctuate significantly. So far, it looks like we hit the nail on the head. 

Over the past month we have seen price fluctuations of over 25% for some cuts. Briskets have fluctuated so much, we actually stopped selling USDA Prime briskets until prices normalize... as pricing was becoming higher than Wagyu.

What we did not expect was the massive amount of overnight online "meat purveyors" that have popped up with the promise of selling "restaurant grade steaks".

Competition is a healthy thing, there are companies out there that force us to do better and be better. But this new wave of competitors is selling low quality goods, using labeling consumers look for and claiming that "frozen is the new fresh" is concerning. These are people looking to make a quick buck, who could possibly damage the reputation and perception of proper online meat purveyors like us.

Beware of these companies selling frozen product though as many are sourcing from large, billion dollar national manufacturers (Sysco, Restaurant Depot, GFS)  that are simply selling them leftover and old product that has been sitting in the freezer for months if not years. Many of these products were destined for restaurants that never took it. These products will sit in a cooler for weeks before being moved to the freezer. Good frozen product is frozen immediately after production, not after it sat on a shelf for weeks and didn’t sell.

How can you tell?

  • Usually they will be selling in bulk, what the industry calls "Food Service Packs". 
  • All product will be frozen. They will have no idea WHEN it was frozen.
  • A quick look at any of the products you receive from them show freeze by dates of months ago. There’s nothing fresh or freshly frozen about what they’re selling. This is the equivalent of buying off brand surplus from the dollar general store!
  • Their website will use stock pictures, usually of cooked food that has no relationship to what you will actually get.
  • If someone is name-dropping a chain restaurant (even if its a known steakhouse). They are re-selling old stock. 

As for us... at Mea N' Bone we continue to work with the same programs and the same farms, programs that treat both their animals and their employees with the respect they deserve!

You may have heard that many pork programs are euthanizing hogs after COVID-19 forced many plants to close.  This is a result of large companies looking to save money while leaving farmers out to dry.

None of our partner farms are doing this. The brands that Meat N Bone source from pay premiums to the farmers for their products. This helps them make an honest living and not operate in fear of losing their land, livelihood and family legacy of being cattlemen and ranchers. For example, Niman Ranch has a contractual guarantee to all of their hog farmers that they will buy every hog they produce. This proved crucial in a time like now, where the number of hogs being harvested was so low that many farmers wouldn’t be able to make their mortgage payments, pay to feed their animals, etc. But with Niman’s guaranteed purchases they received payment upfront for hogs that haven’t even been harvested yet! When you support local and honest companies like Meat N Bone you are in turn supporting family owned wholesale distributors and butchers and family owned farms throughout the United States that put in the extra hours, the extra work and the extra blood sweat and tears to raise a better product in a humane and sustainable way. You know where your product is from and where your dollars are going with Meat N Bone, you cant say the same about your local grocery store.

This is how you do business, and you and me... as consumers, should support them. This is why Meat N' Bone focuses so much on sourcing... we are not just another "online meat purveyor". We truly focus on finding the best of the best.

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1 comment

  • Good read, Thank You. I’m a lifetime customer of Meat n Bone. It is nice to know my hard earned money is helping those that care about their customers and the product they are delivering.

    Thomas Jubb on


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