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Tyson cuts some beef prices as coronavirus spikes grocery store costs

Tyson is lowering some prices it charges grocery stores and restaurants after a surge in meat costs, due to disruptions at meatpacking plants.

ARKANSAS, USA — Tyson Foods is lowering some prices on certain products this week after coronavirus closures at meatpacking plants led to a surge in meat costs, the company confirmed to multiple media outlets. 

CNN and the Wall Street Journal said the company plans to lower prices for ground beef, roasts and other beef products by as much as 20 to 30 percent for sales to grocery stores, restaurants and other customers. The drop in prices is expected to last through Saturday.

Gary Mickelson, the company's senior director of public relations, told CNN the reason behind the price drop is to "help keep beef on family tables across our nation, especially as our beef plants return from reduced levels of production."

Noel White, Tyson’s chief executive told the Wall Street Journal that discounting the price of beef products will help preserve consumer demand and keep beef affordable. 

The Arkansas-based company processes about one-fifth of the nation's beef. 

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said that bare store shelves in grocery stores are a "demand issue, not a supply issue."

The statement added: "Our food supply chain needs time to adjust to these changes that have happened in a very short period of time."

RELATED: USDA: Meat concern a demand issue, not supply

Credit: AP
A shopper surveys the overflowing selection of packaged meat in a grocery early Monday, April 27, 2020, in southeast Denver.

Meat prices at supermarkets across the country have risen. This was caused by restaurants shutting down and forcing Americans to make meals from home. Food producers and farmers didn't have the chance to shift their food deliveries to grocery stores.

Meat production in the United States is dominated by a few huge companies — JBS, Smithfield, Tyson Foods and Cargill.

Tyson and Smithfield have both been able to reopen huge pork processing plants that were temporarily closed in Iowa and South Dakota, which should help the industry keep up with demand even if some plants aren't running at full capacity, said David Herring, of the National Pork Producers Council.

Tyson's plants were closed due to plant workers testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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