March 2024 Market Update

March 20, 2024

Your monthly update on the state of the pork, poultry, beef, and seafood industries, direct from your Y. Hata category specialists.

Please contact your Account Manager for questions.


Despite tight cattle supplies and higher prices, overall beef demand has remained steady. With higher raw material costs and diminished margins, packers continue to maintain reduced hours at their plants and limit slaughter levels.

In the face of the ongoing cattle shortage, there remains adequate supply relative to demand. With high input costs and drought being an ongoing concern, ranchers remain reluctant to expand their herds and retain heifers. With cattle being kept on feed longer, grading remains good for choice, premium, and prime. However, availability for lower grades such as select remains tight.

  • Ribeye pricing has remained at elevated levels as packers have reduced slaughter levels to offset sluggish demand.
  • Striploin pricing continues to trend upward and is approaching ribeye pricing levels. Should this trend continue, there will be pushback from retailers at some point should striploins lose value as a lower cost steak alternative.
  • Chuck flat pricing will be increasing next month due to the high cost of cattle and reduced slaughter levels.
  • Chuck roll pricing has remained at elevated levels as retailers continue to feature end cuts as a lower cost alternative to middle meats.
  • Sliced beef short rib pricing will be increasing this month due to limited availability.
  • Oxtail prices remain at elevated levels as many parts of the country are still experiencing cold weather.

Moving forward as we enter spring, we should continue to expect tight cattle supplies and higher prices. What remains to be seen is whether consumers reduce consumption to account for higher beef prices or trade down to lower cost proteins.

Prairie Creek Seasoned Patties


With chicken being a lower cost alternative to beef, demand along with pricing have firmed up as retailers look to present value to consumers. Despite this surge in popularity, the supply of chicken remains good relative to demand. The HPAI bird flu continues to be an ongoing concern and something to monitor, but thus far has not negatively impacted the chicken supply.

  • Bone-In Thighs – Availability for Bone-In Thighs remains tight as retailers continue to secure inventory for their ad features.
  • Boneless Skinless Thighs – Boneless Skinless Thighs continue to be one of the more sought-after chicken parts. Pricing continues to trend upward but just securing inventory remains the primary challenge.
  • Leg Meat – Chicken leg meat remains in high demand domestically with buyers having to pay higher prices to secure inventory.
  • Breast Meat – Breast meat prices continue to increase with retailers featuring this more prominently in their spring ads.
  • Wings – Wing demand will remain strong as they remain a must have item for sporting events such as March Madness. As with other chicken parts, retailers have stepped in heavily with wings hard to come by.
  • Turkey – The HPAI bird flu remains an area of concern, however turkey prices remain a value primarily due to excess inventory in cold storage.

Poultry Outlook – Overall poultry demand and prices remain strong as all chicken parts are in strong forward sold positions.

Chicken Sandwich


With high beef prices and chicken prices on the rise, pork is well positioned to experience increased demand as a lower cost protein option. Even with pork demand poised to increase there remains a surplus of hogs in the supply chain. Overall pork prices have started to trend upward but could increase more significantly should the retail segment step in heavily to book products for future ads.

  • Butts– Boneless butt prices have started to increase gradually due to strong export demand to Korea and increased domestic demand.
  • Back Ribs- Rib prices have started to increase with supplies tightening as retailers have begun to secure inventory for future ads as we enter spring and people look to gather for backyard BBQs.
  • Bellies- Belly prices remain at elevated levels and continue to support the pork cutout.
  • Hams- Ham prices are expected to soften as retail and foodservice players have secured their needs ahead of the upcoming Easter holiday.

Pork Outlook – With pork prices being at attractive levels, what remains to be seen is when retailers step in to feature pork more prominently in their ad features.

Pork Roast


Snow Crab

  • All areas for the Canadian Season are set to begin fishing in April.
  • There will be a reduction in this year’s quota compared to last year.
  • With the current ban on Russian product and the closure of the Alaskan season, there is minimal excess inventory in cold storage right now.
  • Prices will remain strong at this time.

Cold Water Atlantic Lobster Tails

  • The current Canadian Season is still producing minimal frozen product. The majority is still going to the live market.
  • Prices remain very strong, with frozen inventory levels dropping.

Mahi Mahi

  • Catches remain the same as larger fish are not as abundant.
  • 7/up fillets are in limited supply, but still currently available.
  • Once depleted we will transition to 5/7 fillets, until more 7/ups become available.
  • 2/4, 4oz and 6oz portions remain available and stable in pricing.

Vanamei White Shrimp – Pierport

  • Currently prices and supply remain stable.

Tuna – Jana Brands

  • Supply is good and prices are steady.
  • We have a comfortable inventory of Poke Cubes, Mini Diced, Ground, and Saku Blocks.
Seafood - Snow Crab