I was asked to comment for a proposed ThompsonReuters article about rising beef prices related to bbq grilling season. I think I missed the deadline for the article, but it made me think about a few things....
I view grilling and bbq cooking as a hobby. I think most people who grill on a regular basis view it similarly. Most people do not grill on a daily basis. Most of my friends grill a steak, a pork chop, or a hamburger for special occasions and for weekend celebrations. Meat prices may have increased significantly, but grilling remains a relatively low volume activity and not a daily requirement.
If gasoline doubles in price, then lifestyles must change dramatically for most of us because we need gasoline to get to work to earn a living. We buy a more fuel efficient car, or change our vacation plans to stay closer to home. We can't realistically stop using gasoline. If you spend $100 a week for gasoline and the price doubles, you are then spending $200 a week for gasoline.
If a $10 steak doubles to $20 it's not quite the same thing because buying a nice steak is not a daily expense. It's a hobby or luxury. We can still justify the expense of steak for grilling because we owe ourselves a treat once in a while. But I'd agree that some folks who don't take grilling as seriously as I do might substitute steak with hamburger occasionally to help offset the increase in prices. Some folks might substitute beef or pork for chicken, but don't include me in that group. My father-in-law is a cattle rancher. What kind of son-in-law would I be if I stopped buying beef? [:-)
And here's another side of the story....The frequency of grilling might actually increase as people choose to cook something at home rather than spending money eating out in a restaurant.