LFTB demand could rebound

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sharp increases in prices for beef have revived lean finely textured beef as an ingredient, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Media coverage critical of the product forced Beef Products Inc. to shutter most of its processing plants, while AFA Foods, King of Prussia, Pa. was forced into bankruptcy. BPI is suing ABC News and others on allegations of product defamation.

But the Journal recently reported that finely textured beef production at Cargill has nearly doubled in recent months from its low point. In November 2013, Cargill announced plans to label its branded US ground beef products containing finely textured beef. At the time, Cargill Beef said finely textured played a major role in providing affordable food to consumers. The company also found that consumers had positive attitudes about the product upon learning the product is 100 percent beef and 95 percent lean.

Surging prices for beef are driving the revival of finely textured beef as an ingredient, according to the Journal. In April, beef prices reached their highest level in 30 years, jumping to more than $5 per lb., the highest price since 1987. Persistent drought followed by a harsh winter have resulted in the smallest US cattle herd in more than 60 years, and the US Department of Agriculture is forecasting beef production to decline for the fourth consecutive year.
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