Market Updates: February 3, 2017

Center of the Plate


Packers are holding kills even with last year in an effort to boost sagging beef prices. The latest USDA survey shows that there are at least enough cattle on feed to sustain this level of kill. In fact, if packers don't pick up the pace a little by mid-March, market-ready cattle could start to back up. Most boxed beef items are available at steady prices. Ground beef prices are backing off from their January highs, a normal trend for this time of the year.


Retail demand has cooled for butts and loins, putting prices under downward pressure. Demand for hams also seems to have slowed, possibly due to reduced exports to Mexico. Bacon continues to amaze, with prices launching from $1 to $1.70/lb in the last 30 days!


Wing  prices have probably topped out at about 1% higher than last year's Superbowl timeframe. Seasonal demand for boneless wings is also pulling tender prices higher. Jumbo breast and thigh meat are still readily available.


Turkey processors have held pricing steady for whole turkeys, but retailers continue to be slow to commit on large buys.

Cod - Atlantic (2x Fzn)

Prices firm for the next short to mid term.

Cod - Pacific (2x Fzn)

Prices firm for the next short to mid term.

Flounder / Sole

Large sizes very short.

Mahi Mahi

Supply remains very short as new season supplies have yet to hit the states out of S America.  For now costs and first offers remain elevated.  

Snow Crab

The snow crab market is trading at very high levels. There is very limited supply on all sizes more so on the smaller 5/8 's We do not expect any relief on costs possibly until the new season in the spring. Canadian inventory is low, Alaskan inventory is low to non-existent (Alaskan quota has been cut by as much as 50%), Russian inventory is low.


The global production of of Loligo squid species continued to be significantly below normal throughout 2016. Production in major areas such as China and India were most noticeably decreased, with production in some areas lower by up to 70% from 2014 levels. This decrease in availability has caused a shortage of raw material in areas which typically are major suppliers to the the US cleaned squid market, and prices for imported cleaned loligo products have generally increased on a steady basis since August. The trend of strong prices and limited supply is expected to continue until the next season in south China, starting August 2017.


Todarodes squid landings and pricing showed a similar trend in 2016 as Loligo. The catch was reduced and compared to 2015, and prices for raw materials doubled. Similar price increases were seen for finished goods. The next season, and opportunity for prices to return to towards the levels of previous years is June 2017.

Shrimp-Asian Black Tiger

The Black Tiger shrimp supply continues to be very tight on small shrimp. Prices are elevated overseas with limited new offers being made. There is not expected to be relief until mid year.

Shrimp-Domestic White & Brown

Domestic shrimp prices remain firm despite limited demand. Inventory levels across all sizes of white and brown shrimp remain low, limiting the desire for discounts



The CME block market has been on the move as of late.  Speculators feel the markets will continue this mild roller coaster in the same range it has been in previous weeks.


Processed eggs are fully available. Within shell eggs, retail demand from fair to fairly good.  Supplies well balanced and held confidently. Market steady to full steady.


Production is active across the country. Cold Storage report noted U.S. butter stocks as of December 31, 2016 were up 9% from last month, and up 13% from last year. This should signal a slow decline in price over the coming weeks even though price is higher than traditional levels.

Grocery & Bakery


Worldwide availability of high-quality, high-protein wheat remains relatively tight. Pizza flour and pasta price are both higher than they were at this time last year.

Soybean Oil

Concerns about flooding in Argentina have been allayed by ideal growing condition in Brazil. Expectations of big supply have caused soybean oil prices to consolidate around the lower third of the USDA $.34 - $0.37/lb forecast range.


Many beet sugar suppliers are well-sold for 2017 and are holding prices firm. Cane sugar is trading in a range. Refiners with domestic supply are selling in the middle of the range; suppliers who rely on imports are at the upper end of pricing.

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