By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — People are getting sticker shock when shopping for beef at the local grocery story. Beef prices are the highest they’ve been in 27 years. The experts say it’s all because of supply and demand.

More people around the world are eating beef, making it hard for cattle producers to keep up.

In some places, beef is sold for more than $5.20 a pound — that’s the highest price for beef in the past 27 years.

Karin Schaefer, executive director of the Minnesota Beef Council said it’s all about keeping up with the demand from countries that are now eating more beef.

“Our global expert value is just through the roof and we have a lot of countries that are becoming more affluent and want protein and as they want protein, they are seeking beef,” she said.

Countries like China, Brazil and Mexico are eating more beef. The supply is down because cattle farmers in the U.S. have had to deal with record drought, cold and grain prices, making their job of producing enough beef for here and abroad tough.

“We make more money because prices are going up when we sell our cows at the slaughter house,” said Jessica Boyum.

Farmers like Boyum say higher beef prices will lead to larger herds.

She plans to add to her 150-head of cattle to keep up with demand — and Boyum is not alone.

“We’re going to be rebuilding the U.S. cattle herd and it’s a wonderful opportunity and hopefully in a year or two, we’ll be having a different conversation about what beef prices are doing,” Schaefer said.

So until then, butchers at Bob’s Produce Ranch in Fridley have this advice.

“Instead of a 16-ounce steak, get an 8-ounce steak — you know, maybe a little smaller portion,” said Greg Sederstrom.

Sederstrom said check for sales, too. Most grocers will do what they can to keep the prices low, you just have to stock up when you see your favorite piece of beef on sale.

“It’s going to get better. We just have to get through this,” Sederstrom said.

He said another way to save money is to go for the middle meat cuts and use marinade to enhance the taste. Only buy the special cuts on special occasions.

Most people we spoke with say they do not care how much beef prices go up. When it’s grilling season, they will reach for the beef.

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