Do you know where the meat in your hamburger came from? Itâ€™s sort of trick question, because even if you donâ€™t know, itâ€™s pretty easy to guess. Roberto Ferdman reported yesterday that the top four meat packers in the United States â€”Â Tyson Foods, JBS USA, Cargill, and National Beef â€” control 75% of the nationâ€™s beef supply. Most of that consolidation happened in the 1980s, but the big four have been slowly adding to their market share in the last decade:
Ferdman explains why this matters:
Consumers are becoming increasingly more concerned with how their meat is produced. Part of that is born from a demand for more humane practicesâ€”the meat industry’s malpractices are well documentedâ€”and part of that stems from a heightened awareness about what people are putting into their bodiesâ€”the meat industry has come under fire for both its questionable practices and potential for large-scale contamination. An ever-shrinking pool of options will only make it more difficult for consumers the fair opportunity to appropriately decide whom they do business with.