Coronavirus: Where's The Beef?

Cisco Cotto
May 06, 2020 - 6:00 am
Burger

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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Wendy's is having meat shock. Consumers are not far behind, one analyst says.

Widespread infections among workers in meat-processing plants during the coronavirus pandemic means there will be shortages. In fact, some Wendy's locations have been hard hit this week because the hamburger chain emphasizes fresh-ground beef patties, unlike some competitors, says Phil Lempert of SupermarketGuru. Soon, he said, problems will catch up with everyone, including people who are looking for beef, pork or poultry in the supermarket. 

That will mean higher prices, droughts of product and maybe a shift toward small and local meat producers, Lempert says. But that will create a trade-off.

“The price is going to go up," he adds. "These factories have been built to make the cheapest product possible — the fastest way, the most efficient way. Frankly, with the pandemic, it shows that that system is broken.”

Lempert is among the guests on this week's edition of the WBBM In Depth podcast, which continues to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.