May 2024 Market Update

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.

Beef

Overall, beef prices remain at elevated levels as packers continue to maintain reduced hours at their plants and limit slaughter levels. Despite cattle inventory being at historical low levels, ranchers have yet to expand their herds and retain heifers.

Even at these higher price levels, consumer demand for beef continues to remain strong. With cattle being kept on feed longer, grading continues to be predominantly choice, premium, and prime. Availability for lower grades such as select remains limited.

  • Ribeye pricing, which has softened recently, is poised to increase again as the lower price levels have started to attract the interest of buyers.
  • Striploin pricing continues to be abnormally high and has surpassed ribeye pricing levels. What remains to be seen is when retail and foodservice operators push back on these high price levels, potentially leading to a price correction.
  • Chuck flat pricing has increased this month due to reduced slaughter levels and all grades of chuck flats in the domestic market being in a strong forward sold position.
  • Chuck Roll pricing has softened considerably as retailers shift their ad features to ground beef products.
  • Sliced beef short rib pricing remains high due to limited availability of raw material.
  • Oxtail prices remain steady and are not expected to decrease until we approach the warmer summer months.

With the ongoing cattle shortage, packers remain challenged to remain profitable yet not price beef items out of the reach of consumers.

Prairie Creek Seasoned Patties

Poultry

With higher beef prices, retailers have pivoted to chicken for their front-page ad features. As a result of increased demand, all chicken parts have found support at higher price levels.

HPAI bird flu cases have surged over the past month as the virus continues to spread. Despite this resurgence, there remains adequate supply, but poultry producers remain vigilant.

  • Bone-In Thighs – Availability for bone-in thighs has tightened considerably 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 with increased prices reflective of this strength in the marketplace.
  • 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 have remained strong with retailers continuing to feature this in their ads.
  • Wings – Wing demand is unseasonably strong with limited availability.
  • Turkey – The HPAI bird flu remains an area of concern, however turkey prices and supply remain stable.

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

Chicken Sandwich

Pork

With the start of summer approaching, retailers have started to feature pork more prominently in their ad features. Despite this increased pork demand, there remains a surplus of hogs in the supply chain.

  • Butts – Boneless butt prices continue to increase due to strong export demand to Korea and increased domestic demand.
  • Back Ribs – Rib prices remain strong as retailers secure inventory for future ads as people look to gather for backyard BBQs.
  • Bellies – Belly prices remain at elevated levels and continue to support the pork cutout.

Pork Outlook – With elevated beef prices, we should expect increased pork demand & pricing.

Pork Roast

Seafood

Snow Crab

  • The Canadian Season has harvested approximately 50% of their quota with the most abundant size being 5/8 oz. There is a shortage of 8/ups and larger.
  • Greenland and Norway will be more prevalent suppliers this year with the reduction of quota in Canada. Expect strong pricing for clusters 8/up or larger.

Cold Water Atlantic Lobster Tails

  • The Canadian Spring Season is in full production from fishing to processing. Prices will stay firm as there is minimal carryover inventory.
  • Lobster Claw & Knuckle (CK) and Claw & Knuckle Broken Meat are in high demand. Expect prices to strengthen. Many chain restaurants and retailers are looking to book product.

Vanamei White Shrimp

  • India still has a good supply of product shipping into the US. Prices are currently holding steady for all types of shrimp.

Kauai Shrimp

  • 13/15 Head On/Shell On – readily available and in-stock.
  • 16/20 Head On/Shell On – currently stock in existing pack 4/5#
  • 8/12 Head On/Shell On – The producer is still having issues with the shrimp growing to meet this size. A new tentative recovery date is sometime in June. No specific timeline has been communicated.
Seafood - Snow Crab