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Beef prices highest in 30 years

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Beef prices are at their highest level in almost 30 years and lots of restaurants are eating the costs, having to make some adjustments to keep up.

Ive been in the restaurant business 25 years and Ive never seen the price go up 17% on an item in six weeks, especially on beef, said Eric Zimmerman.

Owner of Erics Office in Canandaigua, Zimmerman said hes experimenting with different, less expensive cuts of meat, trimming portion sizes and changing menu items.

In such a competitive business, Zimmerman said the last thing a restaurant owner wants to do it pass price increases onto customers.

It is very scary just trying to absorb anything we can absorb, Zimmerman said, Were trying to cut costs on other levels because we know our food cost is going up, so were trying to make it up any way we can.

So far, hes only had to raise prices on some of the specials but some customers have already noticed the increase.

Zimmerman said, They understand everyone goes to the store and has a feeling of whats going on.

Suppliers and stores are all in the same boat.

Cindy DiCarlo, vice president of Skips Meat Market said, Ground beef is probably up 80 cents a pound and thats a lot, thats a lot because thats an everyday meal.

DiCarlo said she has cut deep into her profit margins but still, customers who walk get are sticker shocked.

Its really tough because I know their budgets are stretched too and thats a problem its a problem for all of us.

Customers said they dont have much of a choice but to pay up. Dorothy Buchanan said, Got to have meat, got to have meat because you got to have that protein.

With meat prices rising, Buchanan said, It is tough; you kind of have to pick and choose what you get according to the prices. 

Soon, Dicarlo said it could be tough for some to find affordable protein.

It started off with the beef, then went to the pork and now whats going to happen is, in turn the chicken market will go up because everybody will be eating chicken.

The cost of beef is expected keep going up; at least until the end of this summer and experts said it could be three years before meat prices level off.

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Washington Times