Market Updates for October 19, 2018

Section Type

Dairy | Cheese

The CME Block and Barrel Markets have seen a down tick in value recently. Speculators feel this is due to holiday buying subsiding and supply over demand on inventory.  In the short term they do not see a change in the current environment.

Last week:

Block - Down

Barrel - Down

This Week:

Block - Down

Barrel - Down

Dairy | Eggs

Retail demand fair to at times fairly good. Supplies generally available but held with improved confidence. Market adjusting.

Last week:

Large - Down

Medium - Down

Small - No Change

This Week:

Large - Down

Medium - Down

Small - No Change

Dairy | Butter

Butter inventory remains strong over the previous year and demand is picking up but going in to the holiday season is expected. Despite demand growing, some believe that inventories will reach its highest level at year end since 1993 – which should draw pricing down to near the $ 2.00 levels.

Last week:

Butter - Down

This Week:

Butter - Up

Grocery & Bakery | Wheat

Flour prices have recovered from harvest lows but are still cheaper than last year.

Grocery & Bakery | Soybean Oil

Soybean oil prices are in the middle of the USDA's $0.28-$0.32/lb projected range. Canola oil prices are commanding unusually high premiums as China switches imports from US soybeans to Canadian canola seed.

Grocery & Bakery | Sugar

Harvest has been slowed by wet weather. Pricing has been relatively flat for both beet and cane sugar.

Meat | Beef

Beef prices have been mostly sideways in the last 30 days. Graded beef production (choice, select,etc) has held at last years levels, which has been supportive.

Ground Beef:

Ground beef prices hit 5-year lows and bounced. Cow kills are still large, but have moved closer to last years levels. This is probably because animals were moved off dry pastures earlier than normal this summer. With supply near last years, it is not surprising that prices have recovered to where they were in 2017.


Ribeye prices jumped earlier than normal and are now close to the fall highs achieved in each of the last three years.


Brisket prices appear to be leveling out; prices are trading in a narrow range.


Prices have leveled out for now. Retail features should wind down in the next few weeks, which could allow prices to ease back.


Prices are mostly lower. High prices in September reduced forward sales, leaving spot markets oversupplied and prices on the defensive.


Tender prices are now at their high for 2018, but are still  7% below the 3-year average fourth quarter high.

Thin Meats:

Ball tip prices are back down to average price levels; flank and skirt prices have inched lower but are still on the high side of normal for this time of year.

Meat | Pork

Hog processing schedules went back to normal in late September, but weekly pork output has been about even with last year since. Hog weights are actually a little lighter than the previous few years leaving industry observers wondering what happened to the production increase predicted by the USDA? Pork prices will probably hold above September lows if production doesn't crank up soon.


Butt prices are easing lower as we finally have a little extra product available.


Ham prices are approaching the lows that triggered Mexican buying in early September.


Belly prices continue to climb as retail features wrap up.


Rib prices are back to where they were this time last year. If output holds near 2017 levels this seems about right.


​Boneless loin prices remain high as retailers pull product for ongoing features, bone-in loins are drifting back to 2017 levels.

Poultry | Chicken

Markets are in better balance this week with less discounting noted.

Breast and Tenders:

Breast meat and tenders are moving at mostly steady prices.


Jumbo and medium wing prices are steady; small wings are getting harder to find.

Dark Meat:

Dark meat sales have been a mixed bag, with drumsticks and leg meat widely discounted. Thighs and thigh meat are well balanced.

Poultry | Turkey

Frozen whole turkey prices are flat as we approach Thanksgiving. Frozen bone-in breast prices are up as supplies tighten.

Seafood | Finfish

Cod, Alaskan 1x:

Supply remains tight and costs are firm, this is partly due to decreased quota in other regions of the world. Expect this to remain this way through the end of the year and going into Lent 2019 .  No major changes to report from previous months

Cod, Atlantic 1x:

The 1x frozen Atl. cod loins are firm on costs with the  announcement of a 25% reduction on quota compared to 2017 out of the Newfoundland and Labrador regions in Canada.  Inventory has been ramped up to cover increased demand on all sizes but the smaller sized 4 oz have been harder to come by due to larger fish being processed.    Supply on all sizes is expected to remain tight and costs firm potentially through Lent.    N Atlantic shatter-pack cod is firming as well with limited supply expected at least until February when the Russian and Norwegian seasons resume.  

Cod, Atlantic 2x:

Fishing in Northern Europe has concluded. Total catch this season is poor and raw material is in short supply for 2018 until early 2019 when fishing resumes.

Cod, Pacific 2x:

Heavy restrictions on total allowable catch in certain Alaskan fishing grounds. Raw material is now more expensive than Atlantic Cod and expected to firm continuously for all of 2018.

Pollock, Atlantic 1x:

Costs on 1x fz Pollock currently are stable and  supply is plentiful as we are working through the B Pollock season this fall . Many anticipated with the rising cost of Cod that Pollock would be the next lower cost option. For the most part that "switch" has not materialized to the degree first thought. 

Pollock, Pacific 2x:

Slight firming of pricing. Starting to see substitution demand from cod users.


Raw material prices firming due to the cheapest ground fish compared to Pacific and Atlantic Cod. Continued substitutions from cod consumers driving up demand and cost. Available raw material is in short supply.

Domestic Lake Fish:

As we enter the fall fishing season the bulk of the walleye comes out of the water over the next few weeks.    Depending on the size of fish harvested we should be in stock on all sizes  as the fall fishery gets rolling.              To date prices on both perch and walleye have been steady.  Expect slight increase as we begin to wrap up supply for the winter months. Quota reports from the end of August indicate that 65 % of the perch quota had been caught and 55% of the walleye lake wide.  The whitefish harvest resumed in September and then will wrap up with the extended Native American fishing season to mid November.  As supply becomes more readily available we should be in stock on all sizes.  Note however,  whitefish costs are firming due to shorter supply overall.  

Euro Lake Fish & Zander:

Supply is good and costs have been stable with only minor adjustments to market. This is a more cost effective substitute for the higher priced domestic lake fish items where applicable.

Mahi Mahi:

Mahi Mahi costs are softening as we enter the fall and the Peruvian fishing season is just getting underway.  To date there is no indication of what the new 2019 season prices will be.  Many report extra inventory in both the states and processors overseas so it will take a few weeks to determine where the market will end up based on supply and demand.  

Frozen Tuna, Swordfish :

The peak season in Vietnam for tuna ended in July. As landings dropped  off costs have started to increase.  This has been attributed in part to the new IUU fishing regulations forcing more plants to compete over limited amounts of local raw material.   The Indonesian season is at its end . Combined with soft Vietnamese production, prices remain elevated out of this region as well.  Thailand has yielded limited supply as most long-line boats are fishing in Sri Lanka now that they are green listed with the EU.  Prices have substantially increased on Swordfish from Indonesia, high demand from the European market and stricter regulations are the main cause. Demand remains strong from both retail and foodservice customers  



Cost fingerlings increased after Chinese New Year instead when market expected a drop. US trade commission assesses preliminary higher duty rates in Swai. Prices firm with short supply until end of 2018/early 2019.


Low production during this time of the year. Prices recently firmed.

Seafood | Shrimp

Imported Black Tiger:

Black Tiger shrimp prices are stable and supply is good on small and middle sizes. There are shortages of large sizes due to limited production (2-4 through 13-15) and heavy demand.

Imported White:

White shrimp supply is somewhat sporadic with shipments being late due to heavy demand overseas. Market values are good and offer great opportunities to menu shrimp this summer. Expect supply to be better as we roll into the late summer months as production catches up.

Latin White:

Latin White shrimp are firm with replacement prices firming. Supply is good for the time being.

Domestic White & Brown:

Domestic Brown shrimp are steady in price as we roll into the new season for Texas. Larger sizes of white and brown headless shrimp should begin to land over the next few months.

Domestic PUD:

Domestic PUD production has slowed on smaller shrimp. While boats begin to target larger whites and browns where available, we should see better production in larger and middle size peeled shrimp.

Domestic Rock & Pink:

Rock & Pink shrimp are both in good supply.

Seafood | Lobster

North Atlantic:

Lobster tail costs have started to firm as of late as the Maine season was not as productive as first anticipated due to poor landings.   Meat prices have been soft overall  but many feel the bottom of this market has been met and expect the meat prices to start to increase soon as well. There is no indication that the new 10 % tariff has impacted overall supply as a good portion of lobsters are already sold into Canada to be further processed and the bulk sold to China is whole live.  For now supply is adequate with a firm undertone on cost.    

Warm Water:

Supply has been short on warm water tails with inventory just starting to ramp up slightly after a late start to the season.  Poor catches, increased demand out of Asia  and retailers taking a stronger position on the market have resulted in a firm undertone.         

Seafood | Crab

Snow Crab:

The global shortage of snow crab will continue through the fall.  Alaska did announce their recent findings on their biomass survey of the Bering sea and the results are favorable for more quota for this region come this winter.   The survey showed a 60 percent boost in market sized males and nearly the same for females.  To date  prices have leveled off on Canadian crab on the larger 8 and 10 up products with limited offerings.  However the 5/8 size has continued to soften.   


Red Swimming Crab:

A new 10% tariff on all seafood items should go into effect in August.  The market is still uncertain however, between high market prices, and limited supply, cost might go up.  This coupled with the void in the market on red swimming crab only strengthens this possibility.  We are still expected to start receiving shipments on red crab in October.  The main crab harvest is October – December. 

Blue Swimming Crab:

Prices are still high with great inventory.  There has been a slight decrease in pricing from Indonesia while Philippines and India move up to be more in line with Indo.  For the next 60-90 days prices will stay level to a possible dip however, Q4 is expected to pick back up.  With the red swimming still high with limited supply, this too drives the price up.  Overall prices will come down a bit.

Seafood | Scallops

With increased quota this season and more open areas to fish...costs have decreased  for the first time in several years.  Supply has been more readily available in the larger sizes.  As we enter the fall and the season starts to wrap up, expect costs to start to firm for the winter months.