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ANALYSIS: Frozen Chicken Inventories: Up, Down & Sideways

Given this year’s cumulative ready-to-cook production stats, which stand at record levels, it isn’t very surprising that total inventory volume is 8.1% above this time in ’22. When compared to March, however, net outward movement amounted to 22.86 million pounds or -2.7%. This represents about 2.4 points less than what the 5-year average suggests during a similar period.

Digging into the whole bird category, frozen holdings were slow to exhibit much change during April; at least from a percentage standpoint. At just 12.56 million pounds...

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May 26 9:04 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Frozen Beef Inventory Continues to Decline; Pork Stocks Edge Higher

The USDA separates total beef stocks into two categories: boneless and beef cuts. The bulk of last month's decline came from boneless cuts, which were down 6.9% month-over-month and 16.6% under last year. Beef cuts, meanwhile, were about even with the month prior but 7.6% under April 2022.  

Total frozen beef cold storage inventory continues to follow seasonal norms so far this year but is declining at an accelerated pace versus the prior five-year average. Typically, frozen beef stocks hit their annual low during June since...

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May 26 7:21 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Poult Placements Signal Ongoing Production Slump

At the risk of overstating the obvious, turkey market conditions have been anything but “routine” over the past several years.

Expectations of another major disease outbreak, or the lack thereof, have market participants struggling to generate an accurate gauge on forward-facing supply expectations and spot valuation. With this in mind, the latest round of hatchery figures provides some clarity as to what future production might look like a little further down the road.

As illustrated by this week’s chart, the most recent poult placement figures through the tail end of April...

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May 26 7:20 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Price Gaps Between Mexican 90s Trimmings with Other Countries

2023 has been a year of significant challenges for the Mexican export market. Factors such as the exchange rate and trade flows from competitive countries to the United States have led Mexican packers to different business decisions to achieve their goals. However, a major concern currently affecting the market is finding the balance to remain as a competitive alternative among other beef export countries whole closely monitoring the U.S. dollar exchanges rates that could affect the profitability of the trades.

An example of this can be seen in the 90s...

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May 24 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Beef 50s Maintain Huge Premium Over Pork 42s

Throughout most of this year so far, fresh beef 50s have maintained a huge premium over fresh pork 42s. As of Monday afternoon, Urner Barry's fresh beef 50s quotation was $1.86 per pound, compared to 50 cents per pound for fresh pork 42s. 

In 2023 so far, beef 50s have advanced by nearly 92% and eclipsed $2 per pound earlier this month. Over the same period, pork 42s lost about 13%. From a historical standpoint, beef 50s currently reside at near seasonal all-time highs, second only to 2017...

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May 24 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Grilling Ads Galore

Spending on meat purchases for this year's Memorial Day cookout is expected to total $1.6 billion, according to WalletHub. For this week’s retail rundown, we’ll take a look at how this year's protein features compare to Memorial Day 2022. 

Beef features climbed to the top spot with 27.3% of buying opportunities this week. Pork comes in second with 25% of total protein ad volume, closely followed by seafood with 24.6%. Chicken has 19.7% of total retail activity, up slightly from last week. 

Starting with the beloved burger, ground beef prices are mixed. Circana data indicated that 74-84% lean ground...

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May 24 7:06 AM, UB Newswires

Analysis: Memorial Day 2023: Will Rising Pork Supplies Hamper Holiday Feasts?

Memorial Day is one of the major pork holidays each and every year. Ribs, bacon, and butts are all darlings of this popular weekend that officially kicks off summertime.

However, this year is different compared to the past few years amid economic uncertainty, ample supplies of pork throughout the US, and demand that can be classified as moderate at best. While consumers will surely be out and about this year, pork may not see the same performance the industry has become accustomed to.

The current demand for bellies...

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May 19 8:01 AM, Urner Barry

UB Consulting: The Foodservice Industry – Are We in a Bubble?

One word to describe the current state of the foodservice market would be “perplexing.”

Menu prices remain strong and increasing while the economy is slowing down. According to the latest consumer price index report, the food away from home index rose 8.6 percent year over year in April 2023. Despite the overall increase in the cost of living, as shown in the CPI figures, consumers are still dining out. At the same time, restaurant owners have incurred increased costs, including energy and wages, rightfully, justifying higher menu prices...  

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May 18 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Whole Turkeys: A Contra-Seasonal Quandary

Given the recent and uncharacteristic price correction of whole-body turkeys, we thought it would be a timely opportunity to dig a little deeper into this emerging scenario and provide some historical perspective.

Following a 6-month stint at record-setting price points, the whole turkey complex posted a $0.02/lb. reduction in value on Tuesday, May 16th. This situation has raised a couple of eyebrows, and understandably so.

Over the past three decades, whole-body bird quotations have averaged a 2% advance per month throughout Q2. Furthermore, 2023’s cumulative headcount...

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May 18 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Memorial Day Outlook; Assessing Proposition 12

Circulars are promoting snacks, beverages, and various protein items ahead of the approaching Memorial Day holiday—the first major retail event of the year. While burgers and hot dogs are popular choices for the holiday, other grilling items boast competitive prices this year. 

Wholesale beef prices, which have come under pressure as of late but remain at the third highest levels for the current period, may influence feature volume and retail prices this Memorial Day.

Seafood features make up 35.1% of buying opportunities this week, overtaking pork at 23.7%...

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May 17 10:55 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Chicken Industry Influencers: Plotting and Planning

With spring in full swing, trained eyes are on the price sheet as players compare the current trade backdrop to their historically-rooted expectations. While seasonal movers such as boneless breasts, tenders, and leg quarters have undoubtedly raised some eyebrows lately, there are several other influential factors which cannot be overlooked.

At the top of the list has to be feed costs which, continue to retreat from record seasonal values. Averaging $6.73/bushel through the end of April, Omaha No.2 Corn resides about $1.24, or 15.6%, below 2022...


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May 15 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: The exchange rate impact on the Mexican beef export market

The beef market in the U.S. has experienced a challenging year, with lower production and slaughter levels, leading buyers to look for material to fulfill the domestic demand across the border. One of the main options is undoubtedly Mexican beef. The Mexican export market, however, has faced one of its biggest challenges in recent years on the dollar exchange rates, which has reached the lowest levels on the last five years.

Since March 2022, a decrease in U.S. imports of Mexican beef was noted, a trend that continued during...

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May 12 8:15 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: March Turkey Exports Struggle, but Surpass Last Month

Not surprisingly March's overall turkey trade volume came in at a nearly two-decade low of 33 million pounds, complicated primarily by HPAI trade restrictions. While this represents a year-over-year (YoY) tonnage reduction, the cumulative month-over-month (MoM) figures posted a notable 32.4% or 8.1-million-pound advance. This was enough to outpace an average increase of 20.6% realized during a similar period over the past five years.

In terms of overall trade volume, Mexico played a highly significant role in boosting March’s overall tonnage, coming in at...

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May 12 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Getting Flanked by Thin Meats

As mentioned in previous analysis pieces, “thin meats” typically see price appreciation well before some larger cuts during times of lighter production. Last time around we had a focus on outside skirts, and this time we’re going to focus on the flank steak. The run up in prices within the boxed beef market has prompted participants to seek out cheaper alternatives at every turn when possible. Urner Barry’s outside skirt quote now sits at some of the loftiest levels on record, gaining nearly 100 percent year-to-date. This in turn has prompted users...

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May 11 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

UB Consulting: How Volatile is the Egg Market Right Now?

Eggs have been a popular topic of conversation for some time now. Earlier this year, headlines highlighted the price surges consumers faced in retail. High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has played a significant role over the last year in prices, so much so that prices on the wholesale level reached record levels. Thus far, the market has experienced a massive correction post the Easter holiday buying season. Recent price swings have had many market participants labeling the last year or so as the most volatile market in history...

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May 11 7:55 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Grocers Look to Capture Mother’s Day Spending

In this week’s retail rundown, grocers are aiming to capture a portion of this year's red-hot Mother's Day spending.

According to the National Retail Federation’s Mother's Day annual survey, 84% of U.S. adults are expected to celebrate the holiday this year. Collective spending for the holiday is anticipated at $35.7 billion, surpassing last year's record high of $31.7 billion.

Of those celebrating, 60% of consumers are planning a special outing such as dinner or brunch. Mother's Day is traditionally a dining-out occasion, benefiting foodservice more than retail.

To compete with foodservice, retailers are spotlighting deals...

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May 10 9:12 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: CME Hog Futures Fall to Fresh Lows on Dull Domestic Demand

The most actively traded June contract rounded out last week with a $3.375 loss at $83.775 per cwt, a 23% decline from the start of the year. While the futures board continues to anticipate a seasonal increase in prices during the summer months, the advances have slowed drastically from what was anticipated in early 2023 amid a clouded outlook for pork demand heading into peak grilling season. 

On the year so far, the cash market has declined by about 5.1% and is 29% below year-ago levels, based on USDA’s national weighted 

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May 9 8:23 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Several Occasions to Boost Spending This Month

The calendar has finally changed to May and grocers are eager to capitalize on the warming trend as households begin to soak up the sun and dust off their grills.

This month has several occasions that help drive food purchases and store traffic—one being baseball season. Hot dogs, brats, beer, and more are a home run with fans with fans cheering on from home and in the stadiums.

Coming up this Friday is Cinco de Mayo, which is expected to increase ethnic food purchasing. The deli-prepared section of the store benefits from this celebration by featuring entrees like quesadillas and tacos in the days leading up to the holiday...

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May 3 8:15 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Top Butts Becoming the Top Choice?

Inflation has been top of mind for participants for quite some time now, even more so in the boxed beef markets. This concern has translated into purchasing patterns shifting a bit this year, with value becoming more of a focal point. Top Butts are the highlight here as it offers a cheaper alternative to some of those more expensive middle meat cuts like ribeyes or strips. XT Top Butts are up nearly 17% so far this year and approaching levels not seen for this time period since 2015...

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Apr 27 7:55 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Beef Cold Storage Stocks Dip Below 5-Year Average

In the latest monthly USDA cold storage report, total frozen beef stocks as of the end of March were reported at 481 million pounds, down 3.9% from February. Beef stocks were 10.3% below the year-ago figure of 535.8 million pounds, which was a seasonal all-time high. 

This drawdown is in line with seasonal trends, which indicate that cold storage stocks typically hit their annual lows during the summer months due to peak beef demand during the grilling season...


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Apr 27 7:53 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Inching Towards May

Grilling enthusiasm is picking up as we inch closer to May. However, spring fever among shoppers may be lacking for now as chillier weather returns to portions of the country this week. 

In the meantime, grocers are preparing for several occasions next month that could help accelerate sales of various snack items and proteins.

Next week is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that commemorates Mexico's victory over the French army in 1862. This holiday could increase sales of items including salsa and tortilla chips along with meat as consumers indulge in dishes like enchiladas and tacos...

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Apr 26 8:00 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Turkey Hatch Cartography

Following a month without any commercial turkey HPAI cases, players are beginning to breathe a cautious sigh of relief. However, with seasonal migratory flyway traffic on the rise, those on the grow out side of the business are a long way from letting their guard down just yet. With disease-related production ambiguity continuing to loom, players are leaning into what is still under their collective control. Perhaps one of the best forward-facing supply indicators are turkey eggs in incubators. As illustrated by this week’s chart, April’s opening reading of 26.4 million...

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Apr 20 8:01 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Shell-Egg Stocks Rise to an Almost Year-Long High Amid Soft Demand, Increased Production

The USDA’s National Weekly Shell Egg Inventory report released yesterday afternoon showed a 10% surge in total stocks on hand—the biggest one-week gain reported since April of 2020 when pandemic restrictions ground the nation’s restaurant industry to a halt. At 1.828 million cases, current stocks are the highest reported in eleven months and 6.1% greater than in the year-ago period. That compares with a year-over-year inventory deficit of 15% just four weeks ago. 

So, what’s changed...

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Apr 20 7:14 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Optimism Surrounds UK Beef Ahead of King's Coronation

UK’s weather may be unpredictable, but one thing for certain is the British’s love of outdoor cooking whenever the opportunity presents itself. With the king’s coronation taking place on May 6, bullish traders expressed some optimism that the event could lend support to the beef market and there were areas of additional demand as retailers work to secure inventories for the weekend celebrations. 

It seems plausible that the retail sector will benefit from the event more than foodservice as a lot of people are expected to watch the event...

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Apr 19 7:20 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: February Chicken Exports: All About Perspective

With another round of export figures in the book, chicken market participants are reflecting on the final month’s tally and plotting their strategy for the road ahead...

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Apr 14 8:25 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Thigh Meat and Boneless Pork Ham: Reigniting a Friendly Rivalry

As we usher in the first few weeks of Q2, turkey market participants have their game faces on as they consult with the historic price charts and plot their strategy for the road ahead...

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Apr 13 7:48 AM, Urner Barry

UB Consulting: Will Chicken be the Winner in a Potential Economic Downturn?

Chicken vs. Beef

Protein trade down, is it happening?

Concerns over the economic well-being of consumers have been widely talked about – and rightly so. Through the years, consumers and producers have been experiencing persistent high levels of inflation. The pandemic created a perplexing situation concerning consumers' protein intake. Given the combination of excess savings accumulated during the pandemic and the economic shutdown, consumers could purchase high-priced proteins more frequently than they previously ever had (reflective of record-level high-end protein prices)...

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Apr 12 7:57 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Filling in the Gaps; CPI Update

Post-Easter, grocers are in somewhat of a lull over the next few mostly uneventful weeks when it comes to retail occasions. 

Retailers are currently securing inventories for Memorial Day needs and the peak grilling demand period that follows. A combination of supportive factors including warmer weather and a seasonal decrease in red meat supplies typically boosts both buying activity and wholesale beef and pork prices. 

Over in beef, cattle supplies are undergoing a significant tightening following several consecutive years of drought-induced herd liquidation and elevated feed costs...

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Apr 12 7:30 AM, UB Newswires

UB Consulting: U.S. Economy and Food Industry Recap

Executive Summary 

High levels of inflation persist at both the producer and consumer levels compared to historical norms, despite some evidence of slowing. Concerning food at home, inflation has been decelerating since August 2022.

Overall, the labor market continues to show signs of strength. Wage growth remains strong, especially for the middle class, which may impact protein consumption habits in the future.

Key findings

• The consumer price index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs in February 2023 decreased 0.1 percent from January– the first month...

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Apr 6 1:28 PM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Outlook - Rolling the Dice, or Reading the Tea Leaves?

As we usher in Q2, the market backdrop surrounding much of the turkey complex is anything but self-evident. Spring has historically signified the onset of “deli-season”...

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Apr 6 7:02 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Grocers Egg on Easter Sales Grocers Egg on Easter Sales

Grocers are egging on Easter spending this week as shoppers secure last-minute needs for the first major holiday of Spring.

This year, consumers may be less eager to flock to the egg case. The Midwest large egg wholesale market has been in a sharp decline over the past two weeks and counting after rallying by more than 45% from mid-February through late March. However, prices leading up to the holiday surpassed the two-to-three-dollar mark, leaving retailers little clearance to promote aggressively...

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Apr 5 7:20 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Plotting the Road Ahead for Turkey Cold Storage

Given the multitude of factors at play within the turkey industry, market participants certainly have a lot on their minds at the moment...

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Mar 31 8:55 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Navigating the Bacon and Belly Market in an Inflationary Environment

Dramatic fluctuations in bacon and belly prices over the past three years have been shaped by a complex interplay of factors, including labor disruptions, cold storage supply dynamics, and consumer sentiment. This volatility in belly prices has...

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Mar 30 7:12 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: The Outside Skirt, Seeing Outsized Moves

When slaughters contract, it is typical to see “thin meats” be the first in line to see prices rise given the lack of supply. Slaughters were curtailed back in December and ramped back up in January but have trended lower ever since as packers have worked towards positive operating margins.

Outside skirts are the highlight in this analysis as their rise has outpaced all other cuts since entering the new year. Year-to-date outside skirts have risen nearly 70% from their January lows...

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Mar 30 7:10 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Holiday Ham Breakdown

Leading up to Easter, pork feature volume moves up to the top spot with 30.1% of all protein ads. Seafood closely follows with 29.3%. Beef feature volume sits at 23%, while chicken chimes in at about 13%. Eggs ticked up to 2.2%, up from 0.7% the week prior but below 7.5% last year. 

Within the pork retail segment, hams account for 16.8% of the total feature volume. There are an estimated 27,135 buying opportunities for ham this week, up from about 23,000 the week prior.

Spiral sliced features make up the bulk of ham...

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Mar 29 7:18 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: WOG Values Take Seasonal Flight

A diverse and often volatile market environment has been glaringly apparent in the chicken market recently...

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Mar 24 7:46 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Threat of HPAI Creates Unpredictability in Turkey Supply

If there is one word which can be used to summarize the general mindset of turkey market participants, it is “uncertain”...

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Mar 23 7:51 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Bearish Fundamentals Weigh Heavily on CME Hog Futures

Hog futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have been under intense selling pressure in the latest week and counting. Since March 13, the April contract shaved off nearly 12% of its value and closed at $77.05 per cwt on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, the summer contracts have seen a steep correction from around $109 per cwt at the start of the year to about $91.00 to $93.00 per cwt through Tuesday afternoon. 

Along with spillover pressure from volatile outside markets due to unrest in the banking and financial sectors...

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Mar 23 7:23 AM, UB Newswires

The Retail Rundown: Seasonal Switch Supports Deli Counter

Spring, which officially began on Monday, was warmly welcomed by retailers across the nation. While winter-like conditions linger for regions of the country this week, grocers are capitalizing on the seasonal shift by showcasing warm-weather favorites including grilling cuts.

In the latest week, IRI data demonstrated that beef maintained its lead on all other proteins in terms of total sales volume. Ground beef, which is widely utilized in various dishes year-round, was the number one seller within the beef complex at $63.9 million in total sales...

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Mar 22 8:00 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Q1 Chicken Production Tops the Charts

With just two weeks to go before the start of Q2, chicken market participants are reflecting on what has proven to be a choppy and somewhat unpredictable trade environment...

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Mar 20 7:49 AM, Urner Barry

Urner Barry's Market Briefing Highlights Latest Action Across Protein Markets

Urner Barry is the leading provider of protein market news and information in the food industry. Through daily canvasses of the trade and an unrivaled historical database, our analysts are uniquely positioned to report on the underlying conditions and significant disruptors to the market. In this Market Briefing, Urner Barry reporters outline the latest action in the commodity protein markets, highlighting seasonal factors, disruptors, and current supply and demand fundamentals.

Click HERE to view the latest report. 

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Mar 17 7:56 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Export Tonnage Maintains Grasp on Seasonal Trend

Given the topsy-turvy trade environment which continues to ensnarl the turkey market, the latest round of export figures brings a degree of familiarity back into the mix...

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Mar 17 7:45 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Is Chicken Wing Demand a Slam Dunk this March Madness?

Yesterday tipped off March Madness, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament that runs through April 3. This tournament typically increases the consumption of game-day foods like chicken wings, particularly at foodservice outlets.

This year, however, wing demand leading up to this year's 84th annual edition of the tournament appears to be lackluster, according to Urner Barry market reporter Matt Busardo.

“It’s important to note that with wings moving into March Madness, it’s not like the Super Bowl where...


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Mar 15 8:28 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Cattle Weights Buck Seasonal Norms Due to Weather, Feed Costs

Cattle weights have been one of the many pieces to this ever-changing puzzle within the beef complex. While weights typically appreciate throughout the fourth quarter and peak in January, the industry bucked that trend this year.

There are a couple of factors that have led to this trend breaking its streak, one being pasture. Available pasture over the past two years has shrunk and was exacerbated by the drought experienced in the majority of the nation's cattle-raising regions.

Secondly, feed costs have impacted the weight situation...


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Mar 14 7:01 AM, Urner Barry

UB Consulting: U.S. Economy and Food Industry Recap


The economy has illustrated mixed signals thus far into 2023. Inflation has remained persistently high compared to historical norms. The labor market has been resilient with low unemployment rate figures. Despite the strong wage growth, wages have not kept up with the rate of inflation.

Key Findings:

- The consumer price index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs in January 2023 increased 8 percent from year-ago levels – the largest increase since November 2022.

- In January 2023 the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent – the lowest figure in 53 years...

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Mar 9 2:36 PM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Key Findings From the 18th Annual Power of Meat Study

The 2023 Power of Meat Study was presented this week at the Annual Meat Conference in Dallas, Texas by 210 Analytics’ Anne-Marie Roerink. 

For this week’s retail rundown, we highlight the compelling findings from this annual report, which identified key trends from a retail meat perspective. 

Despite upward pricing pressure due to inflation, the study found that meat purchases are surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Meat had a 98% household penetration last year, making it the largest player within the fresh departments. Overall meat sales in 2022...

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Mar 8 7:46 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Unpacking January’s Preliminary Turkey Cold Storage Figures

Given the ongoing production uncertainty related to HPAI, players on the turkey side of the business are frantically seeking a sense of direction and increased clarity...

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Mar 2 7:23 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Marching Towards Spring Demand

March is here and the countdown to spring is rapidly winding down. The transition to warmer weather coincides with increased retail buying occasions as consumers and grocers alike prepare for celebrations including March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter.

One week into lent, seafood feature volume has advanced to 40.5% this week, up from 33% the week prior. Currently, the fresh/frozen fillet category accounts for nearly 31% of seafood features. 

According to its annual survey, the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that a record 61% of consumers plan to celebrate St. Patrick's...

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Mar 1 7:05 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Increase in Medium-Sized Chicken Production Shapes Supply Landscape

Without overstating the obvious, the chicken industry has been contending with a long laundry list of variables over the past several years and so far, 2023 is no exception...

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Feb 27 7:41 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Q1 Poultry Production Expectations: Anything but Flat

The latest release of the USDA’s Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook Report brings with it a mixed Q1 production forecast, especially within the poultry contingent...

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Feb 23 7:06 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Rounding Out February

With February nearly behind us, grocers are enthusiastically looking toward spring and warmer weather, which typically improves retail demand following a sluggish start to the year.

For now, winter remains in full force as millions of people face a massive coast-to-coast storm this week. Record-shattering warmth in the East will contrast with below-average temperatures in the West and could contribute to varying retail demand throughout the country this week. 

Along with the weather, Lent—which begins today—is currently influencing consumers' purchasing behaviors. The world’s Catholic population will reduce their red meat consumption over the next several weeks, providing a boost for the seafood counter...

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Feb 22 7:25 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Plotting the Return in Chicken Buying Preferences

At this point, many of our readers are aware of Urner Barry’s inaugural No Antibiotic Ever (NAE) chicken table...

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Feb 20 8:19 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Exports Close the Year on Unsettled Ground

With December’s closing export figures now in the books, turkey market participants are digging through the stats as they attempt to navigate what continues to be an arduous international trade environment...

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Feb 16 7:42 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Upcoming Lenten Season Lifts Seafood Sales

Trending topics this week include the upcoming Lenten season and inflation as traders assess the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released yesterday.

The Christian Lenten season begins next week on February 22 and will last through April 6. During this 40-day stretch, observers will reduce their red meat consumption. The seafood counter typically stands to benefit from this temporary shift away from meat on Fridays. 

Although Lent is rapidly approaching, retailers have actually reduced their number of seafood feature activities. For the week of February 20, seafood buying opportunities clock in at 23%, down from 31.4% the week prior. Beef narrowly holds the top spot with 29.2%, closely followed by pork with 28.5%. Chicken makes up around 15% of circular ad space...

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Feb 15 7:10 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Tripe Under Pressure

Many items in the beef varieties arena have been under pressure since mid-October and several items are currently at 52-week lows or have declined a good deal from 2022 levels. Two items following this trend are...

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Feb 14 8:42 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: How has Cheap Chicken Impacted the Bacon Business?

Chicken may currently be a primary influence on belly and bacon prices; when is the last time you heard that? Well, that is precisely what’s happening in early 2023. Pork belly prices have experienced their weakest start to the year in our recorded history, with Urner Barry data extending back to 1996. Meanwhile, medium sized chicken breasts are down 44.5% over the past 7 months...

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Feb 10 8:20 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Plotting the Trajectory of Whole-Body Turkeys

Although the whole-body turkey market has remained fairly even-keeled since the year’s outset, that isn’t to say that frozen birds are being overlooked...

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Feb 10 8:15 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Chicken Wings - A Pre-Game Huddle

Football fans are counting down the days until Superbowl LVII, but the big game isn’t the only thing on their minds this weekend...

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Feb 9 5:04 PM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Lamb Racks Heading into Valentine's Day: Is Demand Holding Up?

With the domestic lamb market, everything is relative compared to previous years. 15 of the 18 domestic lamb items Urner Barry quotes are at 52-week lows. Many would look at the price sheet and gaze upon a sea of red and think that the situation is bleak, but when compared to pre-pandemic years, prices are extremely elevated.

Take the 204 Rack 8-Rib, 7/UP for example, the current price is $1135/CWT on a weekly average basis, which is well below what we...

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Feb 9 9:54 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Super Bowl Shines Bright in Otherwise Dull Demand Period

Eager fans are gearing up for Super Bowl weekend as the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles prepare to face off in Arizona. Grocers are equally enthusiastic to capture additional sales during what is an otherwise dull demand period for retail and red meat sales in general.  

The National Chicken Council (NCC) estimates Americans will eat a record-shattering 1.45 billion chicken wings during this year's Super Bowl LVII festivities. This is up 2% from last year and equates to about 84 million wings, said the NCC. Urner Barry's Ryan Doyle took a closer look at NCC's latest annual Chicken Wing Report.  

A decline in wing prices along with the return to in-person celebrations, whether it be at home or at a restaurant, is expected to drive the uptick in wing consumption...

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Feb 8 7:20 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: US Egg Market Plunges Nearly 50% as High Retail Prices Cause Demand to Slow

If customers weren’t paying attention to the price of eggs before, their awareness has certainly been heightened in recent weeks. It’s nearly impossible to scroll through headlines or social media these days without stumbling upon a news story or a witty meme decrying the high cost of eggs—or even the farmers that produce them. And yet wholesale egg prices have plunged 49% over the past five weeks, dropping below $3.00/dozen for the first time since October—which begs the question...

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Feb 6 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Frozen Chicken Inventories Stacking up: A Product of The Times

Considering 2022’s cumulative chicken headcount which topped the charts at 9.5 billion head, there is little question behind last year’s successive advances in year-over-year (YoY) inventory levels...

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Feb 3 7:30 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Market Influencers: Looking Beyond HPAI

While the direct impact of HPAI on the turkey industry cannot be overstated, several other distinct and highly impactful influences are currently in play...

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Feb 2 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Comparing Urner Barry's Protein Indices

Seafood features climbed to the top spot across proteins this week with 30% of feature volume. Pork follows with 24%, while beef chimes in with 22%—down from 27% the week prior. Chicken accounts for 19.5% of ad space, while turkey holds onto just over 2%. Buying opportunities for eggs have dwindled in recent weeks and are currently registering zero. 

A look at Urner Barry's Weekly Retail Feature Indices so far this year shows that seafood features are priced the highest overall, while chicken features as a whole are the lowest. Seafood and chicken are above their respective year-ago levels, while pork and beef are showing a discount to 2022 levels...


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Feb 1 8:00 AM, UB Newswires

The Retail Rundown: How Do Plant-Based Meat Sales Fare at Retail?

Plant protein has piqued increased interest among consumers in recent years. Within the plant protein arena, plant-based meat ranks second in terms of sales dollars, behind plant-based milk.

Boosted by growing demand among consumers, whether vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian, plant-based meat sales climbed to $1.4 billion in 2020, according to the Good Food Institute. That was up 45% from 2019 and a record year of growth.  However, dollar sales of plant-based meat in 2021 were flat with the year prior at $1.4 billion.

Like conventional meat, the plant-based industry has weathered recent years of pandemic-related challenges including supply chain issues and inflation. A deeper dive into Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) data suggests that plant-based sales at retail could continue to stall following its sharp upward trajectory three years prior...

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Jan 25 11:38 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: The Pork Cutout: What’s going on in 2023?

The Urner Barry and USDA Pork Carcass Cutouts are having their worst starts to a new year in history, with data that dates back to 2003 and 2013, respectively. Regardless of which data you choose to look at, the domestic pork market started out the year in a lackluster fashion. The main culprit in this situation is...

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Jan 25 9:15 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: November Exports - Another Commendable Month for Chicken

The latest round of export figures confirms the general consensus of chicken market participants: November was another stellar month for those on the marketing side of the business...

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Jan 20 9:16 AM, Urner Barry

UB Consulting: Why the Rise in Egg Prices?

The rise in grocery prices has been a topic of conversation for much of the past year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) consumer price index report highlighted this. In 2022, the average year-over-year increase in the food-at-home index was 11.4 percent. More recently, however, heightened attention has been drawn to the price of eggs at retail—a situation that has left many consumers scratching their heads, asking why eggs are so costly nowadays.

For many consumers, egg prices were of little thought – a relatively inexpensive...

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Jan 20 7:52 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Poult Placements Attempt To Off-"set"- HPAI Losses

If there is anything obvious that can be said about the turkey market, it’s that there has been an underlying lack of production making the rounds, which can be attributed to HPAI and the flock losses which have come as a result...

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Jan 19 8:47 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Seafood Feature Volume Increases

Seafood feature volume increased to the top spot across the protein complex this week. Seafood ads account for nearly 30% of total protein ads, while beef is a close second with 29%. Pork features claim about 23%, while chicken makes up 17%. With the holiday baking season behind us, egg features accounted for less than one percent of total retail buying opportunities.   

In the seafood complex, fresh finfish was the top seller last week with $28.3 million in total sales, or about 32% of the total seafood sales value. A deeper dive into the finfish category shows fresh salmon as the leading species among shoppers. Salmon retailed at an average of $11.24 non-discounted, versus $10.37 discounted.

Fresh cod purchases ranked second with about $19.2 million in sales for the week ended January 8. In the frozen aisle, shrimp retailed at $9.23 non-discounted, 14.5% higher than its discounted average price. Convenient prepared options including frozen seafood cakes made a splash with $560,320 in total sales, according to Information Resources, Inc (IRI) data...

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Jan 19 7:30 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Holiday Favorites Carving Out Record Highs

Now that we are two full weeks into the New Year, one prevailing theme that has carried over in the beef market is uncertainty. This is particularly true within the middle meat complex as seasonality and historical trends have been bucked, thrown upside down, and ignored.

There are a couple of items highlighting the broken seasonal trends and one has been bone-in or as some refer, export ribs. Values currently sit at the highest seasonal levels on record with weakness beginning to be reported.  Our quotations at the time of this...

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Jan 18 9:09 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: A Deep Dive Into Chicken Wings at Retail

With the “kickoff” of NFL playoffs at our doorstep, football fans and chicken market participants are keeping their eyes trained on the wing complex...

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Jan 16 8:02 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Beef Dominates Total Sales; CPI Data Released

In this week’s retail rundown, we explore the economy and inflation with the latest CPI data signaling slowing inflation. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data this morning, showing the index up 6.5% overall in December, in line with what analysts were anticipating. The food index rose 0.3% last month, following a 0.5% increase in November.

The food away from home index was up 0.4% last month. Food at home rose by 0.2%. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and...

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Jan 13 7:30 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Rib Primal Showed Unusual Strength in December

The beef market saw price volatility to the upside to end the year given the sharp production cuts seen in December as packer margins were squeezed from multiple angles. Sudden gains were nearly broad-based as buyers felt the need to step in and procure product amid supply constraint thoughts. This is indicative of the continued strong demand for beef seen for years. But while some of the items should not come as a surprise, a closer look at the rib primal certainly does...

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Jan 12 8:55 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Thin November Export Volume: A Product of the Times

The latest round of turkey export figures serves to confirm the generally lackluster sentiment that most players continue to exhibit...

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Jan 12 8:30 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Ringing in the New Year with Chicken Retail Opportunities

Given the relatively static state of the chicken market, we thought it would be a prime opportunity to dig into something a little bit different this week...

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Jan 9 7:14 AM, Urner Barry

UB Consulting: Labor, Inflation, & Stagflation - What Does it Mean for Protein Commodity Markets?

The current state of the economy has been a topic of concern for much of 2022. And to some degree, rightly so. It has been no secret that living costs have increased throughout the year, with consumers experiencing inflation levels not seen in over 40 years. Fear of recession continues as consumer sentiment hovered around all-time lows for much of the year. Despite the negative attitudes around the market, the economy has been resilient on the labor front, recording low unemployment figures...

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Jan 6 8:01 AM, General News

ANALYSIS: Whole Turkeys Stuck in Suspended Animation

While there is a long list of variables currently at play for the turkey industry, whole-body bird availability and the values associated with them remain top of mind for most players involved...

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Jan 6 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Exploring COMTELL’s Revamped Retail Section

Urner Barry, the leading provider of protein news and information in the food industry, has overhauled the retail section on COMTELL by utilizing scanner data from Information Resources, Incorporated (IRI), a leading global analytics and data provider from the retail space.  

Through the data from IRI, COMTELL now features a vastly larger database of retail items and related statistics, including hundreds more seafood items and 3 to 5 times as many meat and poultry items. Lamb, veal, and sausage items are also now represented.  

Each new item contains...

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Jan 5 8:15 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Post-Thanksgiving Aftermath…Plenty of Room At the Inn

Keeping in line with what historic seasonality suggests, November’s ending turkey inventory came in at a 52-week low of 141.4 million pounds...

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Dec 30 7:09 AM, Urner Barry

This Week in Retail: Meat and Poultry Highlights of 2022

2022 has been another challenging year for retailers and participants throughout the supply chain, who have had to contend with the effects of drought, disease pressure, persistent inflation, and logistical issues—just to name a few.

In the face of rising wholesale prices, retail prices for several popular protein options including fresh ground beef, boneless skinless chicken breast, and bacon have hit fresh record highs this year, raising concerns among grocers over slowed consumer purchasing.

As we prepare to ring in the new year, a tight supply situation and...

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Dec 29 8:00 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Holiday Chicken Headcount Cartography

With the holiday season upon us, trade activity in the chicken sector has retreated in a seasonally-anticipated manner...

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Dec 23 8:17 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Assessing the HPAI Fallout on Pricing and Supply

As we gradually transition into 2023, the turkey industry is faced with more lingering questions than answers; many of which revolve around HPAI and its possible implication on future production stats and pricing...

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Dec 22 7:41 AM, Urner Barry

This Week in Retail: Sleigh-ing the Competition with Holiday Deals

With the cost of living remaining high for many households, retailers are hoping to earn consumer dollars with attractive deals in the final days leading up to Christmas.

Last-minute shoppers looking to procure their centerpieces for the holiday dinner table can find competitive offerings on a wide array of proteins this week. 

Looking at this week's protein ads, pork features currently hold the top slot with 31.2% of total retail activity. Seafood follows with 26.5% of ad space, while beef features account for 22%. Turkey makes up 8.2% of circular space and chicken holds onto 7.7% of total retail activity. Egg features are nearly non-existent with just 0.4%. 

In the pork complex, ham features claim 31% of all pork feature activity. Holiday hams average $2.18 per pound, up 27 cents from a year ago. Bone-in butt half hams are featured at $2.32 per pound, a whopping 63.4% higher than this week in...

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Dec 22 7:15 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Turkey Export Volume: Seasonally Moderated

The latest round of turkey export stats help us to pare some of the uncertainty which surrounds the current market landscape...

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Dec 16 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: A Bird’s Eye View of Turkey Market Variables

As we close in on the final days of 2022, and given the seasonally stout backdrop surrounding most key lines within the turkey complex, we thought it would be a good opportunity to dig into several influential factors which could continue to impact the market moving forward...

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Dec 8 9:06 AM, Urner Barry

This Week in Retail: The Christmas Countdown

Jingle bells—or should we say alarm bells—are ringing now that just two short weekends are left to shop for Christmas. 

In the lead-up to the big day, grocers are focused on holiday spending as consumers prepare to celebrate the season with food and drinks. This sparks interest in the protein case and traditional favorites for the Christmas dinner table, including hams and rib roasts. 

This week in retail, pork leads the charge in retail buying opportunities with 30 percent of total protein ad space. Seafood follows with 24.2 percent, while beef comes in with 22.3 percent. Chicken accounts for 15.5 percent, up slightly from the week prior.

Upon closer inspection, bacon features make up a large chunk of category ads within the pork complex. Brand-label bacon currently averages $6.43 per pound, up 19 cents a year ago and at a near seasonal all-time high. Shoppers can find holiday hams at a more palatable price point of $1.96 per pound on average, below $2.23 last year. Pork roasts are situated above 2021 levels at an average of $2.98 per pound but are competitively priced against many beef and chicken items...

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Dec 8 8:10 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Tenderloins, bust or boom?

With the holidays closing in, interest has been laser focused around two items: ribs and tenderloins...

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Dec 7 8:35 AM, Urner Barry

This Week in Retail: Grocers Deck the Halls With December Deals

Deck the halls with… wait—it’s December already?

Now that Thanksgiving is yesterday's news, retailers are honing in on Christmas and other holiday demands. This month, several seasonal factors shape both the wholesale and retail markets.

For beef, wholesale prices typically take on a softer undertone towards the year's end once holiday orders are filled. Last year, Urner Barry's Choice cutout value shaved off nearly 10% from the beginning of November to the tail end of December. 

On the contrary, retail prices typically climb to some of their highest levels of the year late this month. This is largely due to increased demand for high-quality beef cuts around the holidays...

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Dec 1 8:00 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Beef Cold Storage Stocks Break 8-Month Seasonal Highs

USDA monthly cold storage data released last week showed beef stocks held in the nation’s freezers at the end of October was 509,949,000 pounds. This was three percent below last month, but nearly eight percent above last year.

It broke the string of eight straight months since February that stocks were the highest on record for that month as it crossed below October 2018...

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Nov 28 8:30 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Frozen Turkey Holdings: Seasonal Flight

Given 2022’s 6.4% cumulative year-over-year reduction in ready-to-cook turkey production and the historic tendency of frozen holdings to trend lower during Q4, the latest Cold Storage report shouldn’t come as much of a shock to players who have been following the seasonal trends...

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Nov 23 9:17 AM, Urner Barry

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