“The food supply chain is breaking,” Tyson Foods’ chairman John Tyson wrote last week in an ad in the Washington Post and the New York Times, warning that “there will be a limited supply of our products in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that our currently closed.”
Around the country, large meat-processing plants — the slaughterhouses where cows, pigs, and chickens are cleaned and broken down into familiar cuts — have been forced to close by coronavirus cases and social distancing measures. That creates the possibility for a bottleneck in the supply chain that moves beef, pork, and chicken from farms to some supermarket shelves.
Small butcher shops and grocers aren’t necessarily immune from the shortage, either: The U.S. livestock industry is so consolidated, the closure of just a dozen plants disrupts production on a national scale.
With demand on the rise and less meat hitting the market, it may be harder to find meat, and it may be more expensive.
However, smaller outfits may have less consumer competition and a more diverse (or more local) set of suppliers, and their employees may steer you to better-priced proteins. From restaurant suppliers-turned-retailers and area farms to local co-ops and butcher shops, here are some alternatives to your supermarket’s meat aisle; for delivery information, check here.