Your monthly update on the state of the pork, poultry, beef, and seafood industries, direct from your Y. Hata category specialists.
With the holidays past us, demand has slowed and is putting pressure on the middle meats & overall beef cutout. Despite ongoing talk of cattle shortage, there remains an adequate supply of beef for the first quarter of 2024.
Winter storm conditions have brought frigid temperatures to many parts of the country which could impact cattle weights and grading. This severe weather from the arctic blast has already resulted in temporary plant closures which is disrupting the supply chain.
Despite supply constraints and higher prices, demand for beef remains strong as consumers have not traded down in large numbers to lower cost proteins such as pork and chicken.
With lower grain prices, ranchers are keeping cattle on feed longer, so grading has improved for choice, premium, and prime. However, we are seeing limited availability of lower grades such as select.
- Ribeye pricing is holding firm at elevated levels but will be decreasing significantly over the next month.
- Striploin pricing has increased slightly as retailers look to feature striploins as a lower cost cut steak alternative.
- Chuck flat pricing will be increasing again due to continued strong demand both domestically and overseas. Despite export sales to Asia being down, both Japan and Korea have moved more prominently towards chuck flats instead of boneless chuck ribs & boneless chuck short ribs which are priced at excessive high levels.
- Chuck roll pricing, which did decrease last month, has started to increase again as the recent cold weather has seen consumers gravitate towards end cuts.
- Sliced beef short rib pricing will be increasing this month due to limited availability.
- Oxtail prices will be increasing due to increased demand during the winter months.
Despite the challenged cattle supplies we still expect there to be adequate supply to meet existing demand, however we should expect continued higher prices.
Post holidays, the HPAI bird flu remains top of mind for the poultry industry and is being closely monitored with outbreaks reported across many parts of the country. Despite this resurgence, there remains a sufficient supply of chicken relative to demand.
In comparison to high beef prices, chicken remains reasonably priced and a great value for consumers.
With the attractive price levels for chicken, demand has increased and is supporting higher prices for all chicken parts.
- Bone In Thighs – Availability for Bone In Thighs remains good but is not as abundant as in past months largely due to increased retail demand. Pricing has been trending upwards but remains at reasonable levels.
- Boneless Skinless Thighs – Boneless Skinless Thigh prices have been increasing incrementally primarily due to stronger demand.
- Leg Meat – Chicken leg meat has seen renewed interest from Asian export markets which has pushed pricing higher.
- Breast Meat – Breast Meat prices have also been increasing with consumers looking to eat healthier to start the new year.
- Wings – Wing prices have increased with everyone stocking up ahead of the football playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl.
- Turkey – The HPAI bird flu remains an area of concern, however available supplies still outpace demand.
Poultry Outlook – The renewed resurgence of the HPAI bird flu and potential impact remains the looming issue for 2024.
Prop 12 has officially become law in California; however, this has not affected non-Prop 12 states such as Hawaii.
With there being a surplus of hogs in the supply chain, pork producers remain challenged to reach profitability. Packers, however, have been more successful with increasing their profit margins.
Overall pork prices will remain steady as the supply of pork far exceeds demand.
- Butts – Despite strong export demand to Mexico and Asia, boneless butt prices remain steady primarily due to the excess supply of hogs.
- Back Ribs – Rib prices are stable and should remain steady until the weather starts to get warmer.
- Bellies – Belly prices have rebounded recently and helped to support the pork cutout.
- Hams – Unlike most other pork parts, ham demand continues to be resilient and remains one of the few profitable areas for packers.
Pork Outlook – With supply still exceeding demand, what remains to be seen is if pork packers reduce kills further in hopes of raising prices and increasing profitability.
Alaskan King Crab
- Alaskan Bering Sea Red King Crab Season finished several weeks ago, all red inventory has been processed and committed.
- Unless there is a change to the ban on Russian product, Red King Crab will be in short supply resulting in strong pricing going forward.
- Gold King Crab Fishery is continuing, but we have not yet received reports on the total catch. Prices are beginning to rise due to the lack of Red supply.
Cold Water Atlantic Lobster Tails
- The current Canadian Season is experiencing continued challenges with weather delays and below average landings.
- Shore prices are very strong, and most of the landings are being sold to China for the live market in anticipation of the Lunar New Year (Feb. 10th).
- The South American catch is still experiencing a lack of large fish with the predominate size coming in is 5/7 fillets.
- Availability of 6 oz., 4 oz. and 2/4 oz. portions should not be affected due to the lack of large fish.
Vanamei White Shrimp – Pierport
- Demand for shrimp is soft domestically and globally.
- Prices remain stable for all sizes and types.
- Inventory levels are good.
- Supply is good and prices are steady.
- We have a comfortable inventory of Poke Cubes, Mini Diced, Ground, and Saku Blocks.