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The Retail Rundown: Pork and Seafood Share the Spotlight Next Month

Pork and seafood will share the spotlight next month, as October is recognized as both National Pork Month and National Seafood Month. Retailers are expected to increase feature volume for the two proteins in the weeks ahead to promote spending this fall. 

October is reserved for National Pork Month to help move product when hog supplies are large. While a seasonal expansion in supplies typically takes place around this time of year, ongoing liquidation efforts may keep a lid on supplies this fall and winter.

Weekly hog slaughter levels...

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Sep 27 6:39 AM, UB Newswires

The Retail Rundown: Fall-ing into Seasonal Trends

It’s the end of an era…or at least, a season. Pumpkin everything has already been underway for a couple of weeks and the fall equinox officially arrives on Saturday, September 23rd.

Grocers are increasingly highlighting autumn retail trends consistent with indoor oven cooking, resulting in shifting feature volume from grilling cuts to cooler-weather items like roasts.

Beef roasts have seen a notable uptick in feature volume since the beginning of the month, currently claiming 22% of total beef ads. Comparatively, the roast category accounted for 14% of beef ads...

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Sep 20 7:05 AM, UB Newswires

Analysis: UK Beef Prices Hold Firm Amid Tight Cattle Market

Demand for beef has been subdued throughout the summer months, but in recent weeks, market participants are seeing increased buying interest for most cuts. Prices throughout the beef complex are generally firming, with carcass cutouts moving higher for the last 3 weeks across all grades. At the same time, the cattle market is reportedly tightening, with persistent price increases noted on both prime cattle as well as cows.

Low-value steaks such as featherblades have experienced increased buying interest in recent weeks. After maintaining steady prices throughout August, PGI, UTM &...

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Sep 19 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Whole Body Turkey Values: Retreating Below the Mean

With no more food-focused holidays standing between now and Thanksgiving, turkey market participants are again taking a good hard look at the whole bird market.

This week's $.02/lb. drop in the Urner Barry quotations might appear relatively inconsequential at first glance, but in actuality this is a continuation of a contra-seasonal fall from grace which has been playing out since May.

A glance at the year-to-date (YTD) figures highlights a 26%, or $0.48/lb,. price correction between the outset of ‘23 and mid-September...

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Sep 15 10:30 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Checking on Chicken; Latest Inflation Reading

For more than thirty years, the National Chicken Council (NCC) has partnered with major U.S. chicken producers to promote chicken sales this month—leading to September being crowned as National Chicken Month.   

In what was historically regarded as a slow period for poultry sales following the conclusion of summer grilling, increased in-store promotions and ad campaigns including chicken-centric recipes have helped extend the robust summer consumption season into September since the program's inception in 1989.

The number of chicken items found in advertisements this week based on Urner Barry's... 

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Sep 13 9:28 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Tom Breast Meat: Off Piste

As we crawl out of “deli season” turkey market participants are paying particularly close attention to the breast meat market and all it takes is one glance at this week’s chart to understand why.

Since the outset of Q3, fresh tom meat has shed 4.1%, or $0.11/lb. While these figures might seem like a mere rounding error at first glance, they stand out like a sore thumb when compared to the established seasonal trend.

Over the past decade, spot quotations have notched upward by just shy of 9% throughout the quarter as...

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Sep 8 8:57 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Seasonal Shifts in September

From back-to-school shopping to the return of NFL season, September ushers in a flurry of buying occasions for the retail sector as seasonal shifts in consumer buying behaviors begin to take hold. 

Purchases for school lunches, snacks, and extracurricular activities lift sales at the deli counter and prepared and frozen foods sections of the grocery store. Last week, the lunchmeat category earned $95.9 million in total sales, up from $67.4 million the week prior. Roasted turkey continued to drive deli service sales and retailed at $10.64 discounted, up 79 cents from...

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Sep 6 7:15 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Turkey Cold Storage: A Seasonal Seesaw

The latest round of turkey inventory figures closely align with the general day-to-day supply backdrop currently in place for much of the complex while, at the same time, inviting some healthy speculation about what the future might have in store.A bird’s eye perspective of July’s total cold storage holdings was far from eye-catching, at least when it comes to percentage change.

Year-over-year tonnage advanced by a modest 3.2%, which equates to a 13.6 million pound uptick. At the same time, inward monthly movement notched slightly higher by a...

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Aug 31 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: 2023 Labor Day Feature Rundown

In the final push before Labor Day weekend, grocers are touting grilling items and party staples as consumers celebrate the last big summer occasion of the season.

Pork and seafood features each account for about 26% of total retail buying opportunities this week. Beef closely follows with 25.6% of feature volume while chicken comes in with 18% of ad space. Egg feature volume saw a noticeable slowdown to 0.7% this week, down from 3.2% the week prior and 4.1% two weeks back.

Ribs and bacon account for the bulk of pork's feature...

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Aug 30 8:53 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Flank Steaks – Record Rise, Record Fall

Urner Barry’s Choice Flank Steak quote entered the year at $5.57/lb., about 15 percent above the 5-year average. While January and February were lackluster for the cut, typically sideways trade, about halfway through February procurement for the Spring season began to surface.

Normal seasonal moves higher were seen throughout the months of March, April, and May but this year that rally extended well beyond expectations. The "dog days of summer” had little effect on this item as its stint upward carried into mid-July rallying nearly 72 percent to that...

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Aug 30 7:55 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Inflation, Waning Demand Impacting UK Beef Trade This Summer

Inflation, declining cattle prices and lackluster demand are all key themes that continue to influence the UK beef trade this summer. Boxed beef carcass cutouts have struggled for several weeks as offerings for most items were generally fully adequate while demand remained subdued across retail, foodservice and manufacturing sectors.

Despite increased retail beef promotions across the UK, wholesale markets continued their downward trajectory throughout July and August. Several beef items includ

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Aug 25 8:46 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Exports Get Leg Up In June

After setting out in January at some of the lowest seasonal levels since 1999, total turkey export volume ended the first half of the year on a high note...

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Aug 25 8:45 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: The Peso's Influence on US-Mexico Pork Trade in 2023

The combination of economic growth, political stability, and favorable interest rate differentials have contributed to the strength of the Mexican Peso in 2023. The Urner Barry Pork Hams for Export to Mexico 23/27, have been deeply affected by the ever-changing exchange rates between the US dollar and the peso.

A side-by-side analysis of the two bone-in ham charts, priced in USD and Pesos, highlights a significant difference. While hams priced in USD are more in line with 2022 rates, bone-in hams bought with...

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Aug 23 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Looking Towards Labor Day

Labor Day weekend is drawing near and grocers are busy securing orders for the final major retail buying occasion of the summer season. For this week's retail rundown, we'll take a look at wholesale price action and how it may influence holiday promotions at retail.

In the wholesale beef market, Urner Barry's Choice beef cutout has advanced by nearly 4% so far in August following a correction from seasonal all-time highs in mid-June and throughout July. The Choice cutout is currently down about 6.5% from its summer peak but is nearly 16%...

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Aug 23 7:00 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

At the risk of sounding overly obvious, chicken market participants have had more than their fair share of challenges this year. Wide swings in weekly live weight, topsy-turvy demand patterns, and unscheduled plant downtime are among several variables which have thrown a wrench into the gears of seasonality.

Although the summertime months rarely yield much in the way of pivotal market-influencing trade for the chicken complex, a recent flurry of activity and supply-side constrictions has reignited dialogue about what the balance of Q3 and Q4 might look like for...


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Aug 18 8:34 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Whole Turkeys Caught In Downdraft

As we turn the corner to the second half of Q3, turkey market participants have begun to take a good hard look at whole-body birds and it’s easy to see why.

So far this month, 10lb. hens, for example, shed 4% of their value which equates to a $0.06/lb. reduction. While this number might seem relatively inconsequential on its own, it does stand out like a sore thumb when compared with the seasonally established trend.

For perspective, over the past decade, frozen birds have realized an average 2% increase in valuE...

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Aug 18 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Egg-celerated Features Boost Spending

School is already in session for some students, giving consumers a sense of urgency to embark on one last vacation before August wraps. For the retail grocery sector, the lead-up to September will be used to promote back-to-school shopping along with grilling must-haves for Labor Day weekend. 

Last-minute getaways support foodservice spending as consumers flock to tourist destinations and dine out. For grocers, back-to-school shopping typically drives store traffic as families restock on breakfast, lunch, and snack items. Eggs, a quintessential breakfast staple, have seen...

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Aug 16 7:00 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: The Topsy Turvy Turkey Whole Bird Market

For buyers and sellers of whole-body turkeys, 2023 has been riddled with more questions than answers. The fallout of HPAI-related flock losses throughout ’22 and into early ’23 left very little room for seasonal market behavior to take hold.

Given the limitations on the supply front, bagged hen values remained suspended at an all-time high of $1.85/lb. for the first five months of the year; leaving traditional purchasers with very few opportunities to throw their hat in the ring...

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Aug 11 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Most Protein Indices Are Below Last Year

A breakdown of this week's retail buying opportunities shows that seafood features make up about 30% of total protein ad volume this week, while beef claims about 25%. Pork follows with 18.2%, down about two points from the week prior. Chicken features account for 16.1% of total protein ads, compared to 17.5% last year. Boosted by back-to-school buying, egg feature volume more than doubled from the week prior to 7.2%.

For this week's retail rundown, we'll take a look at how the various protein indices are performing in...

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Aug 9 7:12 AM, UB Newswires

Urner Barry’s Market Briefing Provides Key Insights Across the Protein Trade

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.

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Aug 7 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Chicken Wing Watch

It isn’t very often that chicken wings elbow their way to the forefront of summertime market conversations, but late Q2 and early Q3 have been anything but “normal” for those on the wing side of the business.

After bottoming out at some of the lowest seasonal levels realized in over a decade, the wing complex began to enjoy some unexpected lift as we ushered in Q3. Since the outset of July, the jumbo wing complex has tacked on $0.24/lb., which equates to a 30% uptick in value. For perspective, during the past 5 years...

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Aug 4 8:29 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Counting Turkeys After They've Hatched

Although the summertime months haven’t brought with them many “earth-shaking” developments in the world of turkey thus far, that hasn’t necessarily been considered bad news in the minds of most market participants. If anything, the lack of activity, particularly on the disease front, has eliminated one of the extraneous “wild cards” from the mix; providing some additional clarity on the production front.

As the industry recovers from HPAI and the bird losses which have come as a result, repopulation efforts have begun to get underway. As evidenced by this week’s chart, the number...


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Aug 3 8:05 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Price Fluctuations and Supply Concerns in the Brisket and Corned Beef Market

With the bulk of smoking season nearly behind us, briskets have returned to the radar. As the supply picture remains in question, thoughts about procurement for corned beef season have begun to surface. Briskets entered the year at $2.90/lb., about 10 cents below the 5-year average. Since then, briskets have rallied nearly 22% but have recently begun to cool off. With the spring and summer months not offering much in the way of ideal weather conditions, demand...

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Aug 2 8:21 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: The August Outlook

August is here and the end to the dog days of summer is in sight—a much-needed pick me up for the protein industry following what is typically a sluggish period for sales post-July 4th.

Grocers are gearing up for Labor Day weekend, roughly four weeks out and the first major retail buying occasion since Independence Day. In the meantime, circulars are already showcasing back-to-school staples including breakfast items and sandwich ingredients as some students begin to return to the classrooms. 

According to the latest Circana data for the week...

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Aug 2 7:50 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Turkey Inventories Conclude Q2 Under Choppy Backdrop

Summertime market conditions rarely bring with them a sense of directional clarity for the turkey market and 2023 is no exception. This time around, even the bellwether lines such as breast meat, are struggling to fall into the seasonal groove. One of the more noteworthy supply-side metrics to surface recently is June’s Cold Storage Report, which brought a 6.3%, or 25.98-million-pound, year-over-year (YoY) advance in total turkey inventory levels.

Inward volume also notched upward from May by 8.9%, which equates to a 35.65-million-pound rise against...

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Jul 28 8:06 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Seafood Features Swim to the Top

Closing out the last full week of July, seafood features make up 32.7% of total protein ad volume, marking the fourth consecutive week that they have claimed the top spot. Beef comes in second with 25.4% of retail buying opportunities. Pork takes third with 21%, followed by chicken at 16.6%. Eggs claim 2.6% of total ad space, down from 3.2% last week.

Fresh/frozen fillets account for the bulk of seafood feature volume, with swai fillets making up 24.6%. According to the latest IRI data, fresh swai averaged $4.82 discounted last week, while its frozen counterpart was featured at $5.43 discounted...


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Jul 26 8:00 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Reading the Turkey Tea Leaves

Seasonal demand patterns rarely bring a sense of clarity to the turkey market here in mid-summer, but for those in the whole-body bird arena, a slightly more cohesive picture might be starting to develop thanks to some additional purchasing inquiries making the rounds.

This scenario has undoubtedly raised a couple of eyebrows, especially when considering the atypical performance of the bagged bird complex up until this point.

To quantify things, between the outset of the year, and the week of July 17th, 16 lb...

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Jul 21 8:19 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Battle of the Burgers

A crowd favorite with endless topping combinations, summertime grilling often feels incomplete without burgers. From traditional beef patties to plant-based alternatives, consumers of all tastes and budgets can find plentiful options at the grocery store. For this week's rundown, we'll take a look at how the various retail burger options stacked up against one another. 

Circana data showed that 78-84% lean ground beef averaged $4.59 discounted in the week ending July 9, up 25 cents from the week prior and above $4.40 last year. As a whole, ground beef...

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Jul 19 7:00 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Chicken Production: Crystal Ball or a Heat Mirage

The chicken market landscape has been anything but well-defined over the past several weeks. Regional plant downtime, wide fluctuations in live weight often instigated by heat, and seasonal (less than active) demand patterns are among several variables which make it difficult to hone Q3 expectations.

While a malaise in spot trade volume and valuation isn’t atypical for the chicken complex during the summertime months, it prompts players to lean more heavily on what still lies in their control: production.

In terms of supply indicators, there is perhaps no better data...

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Jul 14 10:50 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: OTM Beef Carcass Cutout Down for Six Consecutive Weeks

Following the gains seen in May, OTM beef carcass cutouts have been declining for the last six weeks. OTM ribs and fillets are some of the items that continued to lose premium over the last few weeks as offers seemed to exceed the current level of interest. OTM chain off fillets traded at an average price of £13.25/kg last week, down from the 52-week average of £14.46/kg. At £11.25/kilo, OTM chain on fillets were down from the week prior and 10%...

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Jul 14 9:08 AM, Urner Barry

Analysis: Exchange Rates Impact on Mexican End Cuts

Throughout 2023, the Mexican export market has experienced a contrasting activity compared to the previous year. This is a result of various factors that have influenced the beef industry and consequently, led buyers and sellers to adopt different positions and develop specific business strategies to meet their inventory needs and budget requirements.

The main factor influencing this market situations is due to the production levels in the U.S. market. At the beginning of the year, it seemed as an opportunity for the Mexican market to expand its market share as a...

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Jul 13 8:01 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Exports Tally Tells A Mostly Seasonal Tale 

From a seasonal standpoint, the latest turkey export figures were far from earth-shaking as outward movement to most major trade destinations loosely kept in line with historical expectations.

May’s export movement was somewhat fragmented and highly dependent on the specific region in question. Starting with the cumulative tally, at 39.5 million pounds, total monthly export tonnage managed to post a 14.6%, or 5.03 million pounds month-over-month (MoM) advance. This far surpasses an average 1.4% increase realized over the past five years but wasn’t quite enough to propel...


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Jul 13 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: How Did This Year's July 4th Protein Sales Perform? 

This year's July 4th celebration boosted protein sales across the board as consumers commemorated the final holiday of the summer with cookouts and gatherings. For this week's rundown, we'll take a look at how the various proteins performed at retail in the lead-up to Independence Day.  

The latest Circana data indicated that total beef sales volume swelled to $214.9 million during the week ended July 2, accelerated by late-minute buying for the holiday. This was up 73.3% from the week prior and 27.8% more the same week...

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Jul 12 9:17 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Strip Loin Outperforming Typical Seasonality Following Father's Day Boom

Strip loin prices tend to rally into June as Father's Day business is a strong period for sales.

The red line in the chart below shows this seasonality, with higher highs seen in 2023 compared to the previous two years. With early July prices sitting at about $10.00/lb., the only outperformance was 2020.

On an absolute basis, the 44.5 percent rally from the beginning of the year has shown a strong performance. But relatively speaking, the same can...

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Jul 11 7:58 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Breast Takes On a Seasonal Road Less Traveled

As turkey market participants transition into a Q3 state of mind, tom breast meat is once again making its way into the cyclical limelight, but not for the reasons that one might expect. Further processing and retail demand patterns continue to reside below historic expectations; thus, limiting the channels through which sellers can successfully place fully adequate production.

To quantify things, between the outset of April, and the conclusion of September, fresh tom breast meat has realized an average $0.80/lb., or...

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Jul 7 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Navigating the Summer Doldrums

With July 4th behind us, the summer doldrums are beginning to settle in and major retail buying opportunities remain scarce until Labor Day. During this period, grocers will attempt to encourage protein sales with attractive promotions as summer grilling and other activities remain in play. 

Beef saw robust protein feature volume throughout June and remains at the forefront of ad space with 27.3% of retail buying opportunities this week. Steaks currently take up about 65.4% of beef's feature volume, followed by ground beef with 18.2%. London Broil and roasts follow, each with about... 

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Jul 6 8:00 AM, UB Newswires

Consumer Foodservice Spend Returns to Pre-COVID Levels Across Europe

Circana, the leading advisor on consumer complexity that formerly traded as IRI and The NPD Group, today launched its latest results from its CREST service analysis, revealing continued recovery for the European foodservice sector as consumers across five markets return to bars, restaurants and other foodservice establishments. Total spend for the sector is now back to pre-pandemic levels (€308 Bn in 12 months ending May 2023).

Spain is the first country to show spend growth to pre-pandemic...

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Jul 6 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Chicken Cold Storage: A Mid-Quarter Juxtaposition

The latest chicken Cold Storage Report can best be characterized as erratic. Categories such as breasts and breast meat, for instance, posted a record seasonal high during May, whereas other segments such as leg quarters, vacated the freezers at an above-average rate; ultimately hitting the second-lowest seasonal level realized in a decade.

A bird’s eye perspective reveals a 10%, or 75.1 million pound, year-over-year (YoY) advance in chicken holdings last month. This represents the sixth-highest seasonal level realized in nearly thirty years. For those in the industry...

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Jul 3 10:00 AM, Urner Barry

Analysis: Key Findings: May 2023 Pork Cold Storage

The latest USDA cold storage data for May offers valuable insights into the current state of the pork industry. In May 2023, we witnessed a noteworthy decline of 7.3% in total frozen pork inventories compared to April 2023, along with a 3.7% decrease when compared to May 2022.

Looking at the green meat complex, total ham stocks displayed a month-over-month increase of 15.26%, marking its third highest May recorded in the past five years. Moreover, bone-in hams experienced an increase of 25.6% month-over-month, which was...

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Jun 30 8:07 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Cold Storage: Signs of the Season

For players on the turkey side, May’s Cold Storage Report brought with it a few eyebrow-raising yearly comparisons, however the monthly figures themselves generally coincided with historic seasonal expectations and day-to-day market dialogue.

Total inventories topped out the month at 401.2 million pounds, which not only represents a 6.2% year-over-year (YoY) advance, but also marks the sixth consecutive increase since December ‘21. That said, the rate of expansion has gradually lessened over the past several months.

As the industry moves forward and away from the HPAI-related...

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Jun 29 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Which Proteins Dominate Holiday Features?

Leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, seafood and pork feature volume dominate retail buying opportunities. Seafood features account for 28.5% of total protein features while pork comes in with 26.7%. Beef falls to third with 25.3%, followed by chicken with 17.1%.

According to the National Retail Federation's annual Independence Day survey, 87% of consumers plan to celebrate the Fourth of July this year and spend an average of $93.34 on food items. Total spending is expected to reach a record $9.5 billion, up from $7.7 billion in 2022. Of those celebrating, 65%...

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Jun 28 8:02 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Chicken Production Backdrop: A Flickering Guiding Light

Given the seasonal state of the chicken market here at the tail end of Q2, participants are keeping an ear to the ground as they attempt to prepare for whatever the future might have in store. While this year’s trade environment has been peppered with unpredictability, one variable which remains largely under the command of processors is production. However, even that metric has become an on-again, off-again indicator lately.

 As our chart indicates, year-over-year (YoY) headcount comparisons have begun to moderate throughout the course of Q2, with the...

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Jun 23 8:27 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Despite Increased Demand for Steaks, Burgers UK Beef Prices Dip

Despite the increased appetite for burgers and steaks, UK beef prices in some categories struggled a bit in the last 3 weeks. Last week’s beef cutouts moved lower across all grades. Beef production continues to be geared more towards BBQ lines, with some expecting seasonal increases in consumer demand to play a significant role in the weeks to come. 

Following weeks of gains, standard VLs saw instances of deep discounting last week, with some participants reporting standard 90% VL trades as low as £3.85/kilo. PGI 70% VL....

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Jun 22 8:01 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Turkey Poult Placements Do 180: Rise to 5-Year Seasonal High

About a month ago, we published an analysis titled “Turkey Poult Placements Signal Ongoing Production Slump” which primarily centered around April’s decade's low turkey hatchery readout.

As a refresher, April’s placement tally of 19.9 million head represented a 9.4% month-over-month (MoM) decline and a 5% dip in the comparative yearly figures. This scenario was also enough to anchor April’s placements at a 20-year seasonal low.

In the absence of recent HPAI cases, we suggested that our readers keep an eye out for signs of repopulation...

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Jun 22 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Bring "Fourth" the Deals

Retailers are bringing "fourth" the deals for shoppers this week and next ahead of Independence Day, or the third leg of summer grilling occasions (the first two being Memorial Day and Father’s Day). 

The Fourth of July is the last major buying occasion of the summer until Labor Day, meaning grocers are actively promoting protein sales before we enter the dog days of summer. While the weather will influence sales for the upcoming holiday, retailers are also considering that this year’s holiday falls on Tuesday. This could potentially affect consumers' plans for cookouts...

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Jun 21 6:45 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Seasonal Variables in Pork: What’s Happening in mid-June?

Heading into summertime this year there were many questions in the pork market. Would we see the seasonal demand we have become accustomed to seeing? If so, what would the surplus of pork do to the market?

Over the last 4 weeks, production figures have been below the same week a year ago. Weights and slaughter figures have dropped off consistently week-over-week since early May, and this has definitely tightened up fresh supplies. The total frozen pork stock remains at a 52-week high, but this factor has ...

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Jun 15 8:01 AM, UB Newswires

The Retail Rundown: Higher Priced Steaks This Father's Day

Heading into Father's Day weekend, beef features climbed to the top spot with 29.6% of total retail buying opportunities. Pork followed with 26.2% of total protein ad space. Seafood features came in at 23.3%, while chicken features account for 13.2%. 

According to the National Retail Federation and as reported by Urner Barry’s Ryan Doyle, spending for Father’s Day this year is expected to reach a record-high $22.9 billion, up from last year’s $20 billion. The previous record was held by 2021 at $20.1 billion...

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Jun 14 7:01 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: A Suprising Season: Unraveling the Dynamics of the 2023 Pork Belly Market

As an industry, we have become accustomed to seeing a volatile pork belly market, especially during the warm weather months. However, this year we are seeing anything but that. Heavy skinless bellies have traded in a narrow range of only 6.7% from its highest weekly price average to its lowest weekly price average since the first week of April. This competes with 29.2% in...

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Jun 7 8:14 AM, Urner Barry

UB Consulting: Are Consumers Facing Credit Issues?

According to the Q1 NY Federal Reserve Bank’s Household Debt and Credit Report, total household debt increased by nearly 1 percent from Q4 2022 to $17.05 trillion, an all-time high. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, credit card loans remained flat, totaling $986 billion. These figures raised concerns for many analysts, mainly as outstanding consumer credit card loans typically shrink during these times as consumers try to pay off holiday shopping expenditures paid by credit cards. Despite robust retail sales data, recent credit reports have sparked...

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Jun 7 7:34 AM, Urner Barry

The Retail Rundown: Attractive Pork Features Could Entice Consumers This Summer

Competitive retail pork prices this summer could entice more consumers to favor pork over other proteins, especially as beef production continues to decline due to tightening cattle supplies.

Retailers are still aggressively promoting beef, which make up 29.9% of total retail buying opportunities. Seafood closely follows with 28.7%, while pork ranks third at 21.3%. Chicken has 14.4% of total ad space, down about 3% from the week prior. 

Within pork, brand-label bacon features make up the majority of features this week. According to the latest Circana data for...

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Jun 7 6:50 AM, UB Newswires

ANALYSIS: Chicken Production Crystal Ball: All But Crystallized

In the absence of any immediate or obvious shifts in the chicken marketing environment following Memorial Day, participants are gazing down the road and formulating their plans and expectations for the second half of the year...

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Jun 5 8:05 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: Cash Cattle Market Kicks Off New Month With Fresh Record Highs

This week’s cash cattle trade started off with a bang on Thursday as prices advanced by as much as $9 per cwt from the week prior. Negotiated prices in the South reached $180 per cwt, a new high for the year as well as a record high level for the Texas/Oklahoma region.  

In the North, live prices achieved $188 per cwt, also a fresh record high. Dressed sales climbed to $292.50 per cwt in Nebraska, approaching the all-time record of $298...

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Jun 2 8:13 AM, UB Newswires

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

Our findings presented here serve as an update on a previously published whitepaper from April 10, 2023, after revising our forecasts.

Concerns over the economic well-being of consumers remain a hotly debated topic—and rightly so. Over the last 18 months, consumers and producers have been experiencing persistent high inflation levels. The pandemic created a perplexing situation concerning consumers' protein intake. Given the combination of higher incomes, excess savings accumulated during the pandemic, and the economic shutdown—consumers could purchase...

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Jun 1 8:41 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: April Turkey Cold Storage: A Product of the Times We're In

For turkey market participants, April’s latest Cold Storage Report was quite the sight to behold, but it wasn’t particularly unexpected...

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Jun 1 8:21 AM, Urner Barry

ANALYSIS: UK Beef Cutouts Continue to Firm

As the weather improves and market participants see an increase in orders for BBQ items, PGI, UTM, and OTM cutouts have been firming.

Let’s have a look at some of the items that are contributing to the cutout performance.

Chuck Rolls prices were well maintained in the last three weeks across PGI, UTM and OTM, with PGI seeing some trades at a record high £7/Kilo during this period. While featherblade prices had cooled off throughout April and into May in line with seasonality, we are currently seeing some trades...

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May 31 8:00 AM, Urner Barry

Jumping on June's Next Retail Occasion 

Now that June is within reach, grocers are preparing for the next major grilling event—Father's Day, which is just over two weeks away. 

Consumers often seek out premium cuts of meat like steaks for Father's Day as opposed to lower-cost options such as burgers, which are typically favored to feed large gatherings during Memorial Day.

This could provide a needed boost for the steak complex, which saw a slowdown in total sales dollars last week. According to the latest Circana data, fresh beef loin retailed at $13.54 discounted (up 39 cents from last week)...

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May 31 6:52 AM, UB Newswires

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

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

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