Your monthly update on the state of the pork, poultry, beef, and seafood industries, direct from your Y. Hata category specialists.
Beef prices continue to remain at elevated levels due to limited cattle supplies and ongoing drought conditions. Ranchers have yet to rebuild their herds as the number of heifers (young female cows) is up from this time last year. Until heifer retention increases significantly to rebuild the herd, beef supplies will continue to be limited.
Availability of premium (CAB, SS, & PSA) grade beef is adequate to meet existing demand but is expected to tighten as we approach the Christmas and New Year holidays.
- Ribeye pricing remains at elevated levels due to strong demand in both the retail and foodservice segments.
- Striploin pricing, which was on the decline for the past month, has started to increase again as retailers look to feature striploins as a lower cost alternative to ribeye.
- Chuck flat pricing will be increasing again due to overall strength in the chuck complex.
- Chuck Roll pricing continues to remain strong as retailers are featuring more economical end cuts with budget conscious consumers in mind.
- Sliced beef short rib pricing continues to increase amidst the ongoing cattle shortage and less cattle being sent to slaughter.
- Oxtail prices are steady for now but could possibly increase further as we enter the colder winter months in many parts of the country.
For the remainder of 2023 we should expect beef prices to remain high amidst the ongoing cattle shortage.
After being dormant during the summer months, HPAI bird flu cases are on the rise again as wild birds migrate throughout the country. Despite the uptick in bird flu detections, the overall supply of poultry remains in good shape. With ample supply, we are seeing softness in the market and decreased pricing for almost all chicken parts.
- Bone-In Thighs – Availability for Bone-In Thighs has improved to the point that we are seeing lower pricing from some suppliers.
- Boneless Skinless Thighs – Boneless Skinless Thigh prices have settled at lower price levels and could possibly decrease further.
- Leg Meat – Chicken leg meat prices have decreased but have taken a pause as everyone focuses on turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Breast Meat – Breast Meat prices, which have decreased significantly, are now stagnant as packers remain reluctant to lower prices further.
- Wings – Wing prices are at elevated levels but are still lower than prices this time last year.
- Turkey – Despite the reemergence of the HPAI bird flu, the overall supply of turkey remains good as both the retail and foodservice segments secured product well ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Pork prices continue to remain steady and at reasonable levels in comparison to high beef prices. With pork supplies more than adequate to meet current demand, prices are expected to remain stable for the remainder of 2023.
- Butts – Despite Korea booking multiple export packages over the past month, boneless butt prices remain steady and have been decreasing slightly over the past month.
- Bellies – Belly demand and prices remain at higher levels, primarily due to Europe being short of inventory. Prices are expected to remain at their current levels for the remainder of 2023.
- Back Ribs – Rib prices have stabilized and should remain steady for the remainder of 2023.
Pork & Poultry Outlook
With the pork supply being well ahead of consumer demand, prices will remain steady for the rest of the year.
For the poultry industry, prices have decreased across the board, but what remains uncertain is where price levels will bottom out at as farmers still need to be profitable in the face of higher input costs.
- The Alaskan Bering Sea Opilio Snow Crab Fishery is closed for the 2023/2024 Season. The next season will be Canada, which is tentatively set to open April 20, 2024.
- There is a limited supply of #1 grade Gulf of St. Lawrence crab available at premium prices. There is better supply of #2 grade Gulf and Nova Scotia available at a slightly discounted price compared to the #1’s.
Alaskan King Crab
- The Alaskan Bering Sea Red King Crab season is currently underway with quotas set at a smaller size. Expect the Alaskan Reds to be priced at premium levels.
- Gold should be a little lower in price and the remaining supply of Russian crab will be at the lowest due to the amount of time it has been in cold storage.
- This year’s Gold King Crab Fishery is in full production. Sizes ranging from 14/17 to 20/24 are available.
Cold Water Atlantic Lobster Tails
- The Bay of Fundy is currently fishing, and the catches appear to be below normal levels with most going to the live market. China has increased their Live imports to 102% YTD, while overall landings have decreased by 10-15%. Anticipate prices increasing due to the growing demand for live lobster worldwide.
- The next large season is set to begin at the end of November off the coast of Southwest Nova Scotia (LFA Zone 33 and 34).
- We are currently in an El Nino year in which the waters in the Pacific Ocean have a warmer than normal current. The colder currents that normally run closer to shore off the North and South America coasts will move further offshore leading the bait fish that the Mahi Mahi feed on to move further away as they follow their food (plankton).
- Since the beginning of the season (late October) the catch on smaller fish has been good. There will be a decent supply of 1/2, 2/4 and 4 oz. portions.
- As the season progresses, we normally expect to see larger sized fish being caught. This year, though, the boats are having a difficult time locating the schools of larger fish. The further off coast they travel, the more costly it is to fish. If the schools aren’t located, expect large fillets, 6 oz. and 8 oz. portions, to be in limited supply and at higher costs.
Vanamei White Shrimp – Pier Port
- Prices remain stable for all sizes and types. It’s a great time to consider upgrading to a larger sized shrimp for the Holiday Season menus.