Beef, pork, and chicken in US cold storage warehouses have yet to recover from pandemic lows and could continue to support higher prices.
New United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data shows beef reserves dropped 7.7% from a year ago in August, poultry supplies fell 20%, and pork plunged 44% to their lowest levels since 2017, according to Bloomberg.
Jim Sullivan, commercial director for Stable USA, said low meat inventories would suggest meat prices will stay elevated.
"Prices remain very elevated compared to seasonal expectations," Sullivan said.
Soaring supermarket prices have been on the radar of the Biden administration as working-poor families allocate a high percentage of their incomes to basic and essential items. Higher food inflation eats away their wages and is why Biden recently increased SNAP benefits by a quarter.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration finally addressed inflation as a concern but didn't blame the trillions of dollars in fiscal and monetary policies and labor shortages on increased food inflation but instead placed responsibility on meatpackers.
White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said "pandemic profiteering" food companies are driving up supermarket costs for Americans. This is nothing more than a blame game and failed government policies that have not just increased food prices but have left supply chains reeling due to stimulus checks that disincentivized workers from working.
New data of low meat supply at US cold storage facility is more bad news for the Biden administration, who will have to develop a new narrative about why meat prices aren't going down. If food inflation remains elevated into early next year, Americans might vote with their wallets during next year's midterms.