As the pandemic drives calls for a radical overhaul of the food system, can the president take on the meat giants?
Both the planet and US politics have heated up in tandem over recent decades, but few sectors have stewed in controversy quite like America’s beef industry. Four super-powered meatpackers control more than 80% of the US beef market, an extraordinary concentration of market power that the Biden administration is not happy about.
A recent executive action signed by the president aims to increase competition in the beef industry, with the White House noting that, over the past five years, “farmers’ share of the price of beef sales has dropped by more than a quarter – from 51.5% to 37.3% – while the price of beef has risen”.
But how were the big four meatpackers able to capture so much of the US beef processing capacity? They had help.