LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The rising cost of groceries, specifically meat products, has led many customers to tighten their belts or even change where they shop for food.

For Dustin Olsen, the butcher at Red Hog Butcher and Restaurant, he's seen this first-hand.

What You Need To Know

  • USDA predicting increase in beef prices in 2022

  • Red Hog experiencing an increase in foot traffic

  • Red Hog butcher meat comes straight from local farms that are committed to sustainable, humane and ethical practices

Olsen ultimately made the career-change due to his love for barbecue.

“I was at a crossroads on what I wanted to do next after my last career and begged our head butcher Aaron for a job until he gave me a job,” Olsen said.

Olsen succeeded and has been with Red Hog for three years. The meat comes straight from local farms that are committed to sustainable, humane and ethical practices.

Olsen preparing meat for customers shopping at Red Hog Butcher. (Spectrum News 1/Erin Wilson)

“I think people are starting to slowly realize that local meat is healthier and more sustainable and are more willing to and are more willing to pay that price, to know they're helping people in their own community,” Olsen said.

According to the USDA, farm-level cattle prices mirrored beef prices which were 22.8 - 43.9% higher in January 2022 than January 2021. Wholesale beef prices are expected to increase between 4.5 - 7.5% this year.

“A year ago it was $8 and right now it's $9 dollars, so it's a paltry raise,” Olsen said. “Whereas like a grocery store last year, it was $4 dollars and it's $8 dollars at a grocery store now – which puts us within $1 of what you can get at a grocery store.”

Olsen said because of that, more people are coming through their doors.

“The grocery stores are increasing so fast and are not increasing at nearly the rate that they are, that our prices are coming closer and closer together,” Olsen said. “For 10-15% more cost, you can know exactly where the animal came from.”

The USDA is also predicting wholesale poultry prices to increase between 4 and 7% in 2022.