Market Updates for March 8, 2019

Section Type

Dairy | Cheese

The CME Block and Barrel market has shown some strength recently but speculators feel the market is still bearish. In the coming weeks speculators feel the market may soften.  With the weather starting to turn and the spring flush coming up, it should suppress a run up in the market.

Last week:

Block - Up

Barrel - Down

This Week:

Block - Down

Barrel - Up

Dairy | Eggs

Retail demand fair. Supplies of large available. Market soft here.

Last week:

Large - No Change

Medium - Up

Small - No Change

This Week:

Large - Down

Medium - No Change

Small - No Change

Dairy | Butter

Butter production continues to be active and inventories continue to grow; expectations are for butter pricing to stay relatively stagnant on the spot market over the next few weeks prior to the butter inventory is reset with current levels and previous inventory is ‘wiped out’. 

Last week:

Butter - Up

This Week:

Butter - Up

Grocery & Bakery | Wheat

Flour prices remain low with little likely to happen until we get into the spring growing season. Prices are 10% below last March.

Grocery & Bakery | Soybean Oil

Soybean oil prices are back to the middle of the USDA's $0.285-$0.315/lb range. The market is waiting to see how China trade talks develop.

Grocery & Bakery | Sugar

Beet sugar.prices are steady; cane supplies are a little more available.

Meat | Beef

Beef production has been close to last year as cold, wet feedlot conditions slow weight gain. Beef prices have been trending a little higher.

Ground Beef:

Ground beef prices bottomed out last week and are trending higher.


Boneless rib price are trending higher into Easter.


Prices are a little stronger as corned beef processing for St. Patrick's Day peaks.


Round cuts prices are steady as widespread retail features keep supply well cleared.


The traditional March price uptrend is underway.


Tender prices are trading higher as we move closer to Easter and Mothers Day.

Thin Meats:

Prices for most thin meats have regained upward momentum; supplies are tight.

Meat | Pork

Production remains large which could be problematic as we begin Lent. After falling almost 20% since mid-December, lean hog prices are leveling out.


Butt prices are 30% below last year, but are having a hard time getting any traction. It is hard to think they can stay this low for very long.


Ham prices bounced off last weeks lows as processing for Easter gets going. Prices are still very low versus history.


When belly prices hit $1/lb. retail booking for features kicked in. Prices are now trending higher.


For anyone who didn't get their ribs booked last fall the latest price break is giving them a second chance.


​Prices are near 10-year lows. Boneless loin prices are competing with jumbo chicken breast for retail interest.

Poultry | Chicken

Deli demand for whole chickens has improved; prices are edging higher.

Breast and Tenders:

Jumbo breast meat prices are trending higher in response to strong retail feature pulls. Medium and select breast meat are well cleared with prices advancing. Tenderloin prices getting traction as boneless wing demand for March Madness gets cranked up.


Wing prices are inching higher as we build for college basketball's March Madness demand.

Dark Meat:

Leg and thigh meat supply is balanced with demand; prices are steady.

Poultry | Turkey

Lower turkey production levels are supporting prices for both whole turkeys and bone-in breasts.

Seafood | Finfish

Cod, Alaskan 1x:

Supply remains tight and costs are firm as we head into Lent .  The Alaskan cod quota has been reduced by 18,000 tons and with reductions in quota on other white fish species as well. Poor environmental conditions, lack of incoming recruitment are just two of the reasons for the lowered quota.  The end result will be increased costs on cod overall.


Cod, Atlantic 1x:

The 1x frozen Atl. cod loins are firm on cost  and could increase further.  Recent adverse weather and reduced quota have resulted in  limited catches for the fishermen at this time.   The smaller 4 oz size has been the most effected as the current harvest has yielded larger fish and therefore larger loins.   We hope to minimize any out of stocks on this item but it could be hit or miss.   Expect this trend to continue at least  through Lent and possibly through June.    

Cod, Atlantic 2x:

2019 Total Allowable Catch is announced at 6.5% lower than 2018.  Prices will remain firm. 

Cod, Pacific 2x:

Due to lower catch announced from Atlantic cod. Pacific cod raw material price remains high.

Pollock, Atlantic 1x:

The overall Pollock quota has remained fairly stable.  Reduction in quota out of the Gulf of Alaska has been offset  by increases out of the Eastern Bering Sea for the most part.  However it has also been noted that there are limited holdover inventories for the start of 2019 that could  push up costs pre-lent.  For now costs are stable.  

Pollock, Pacific 2x:

Firming of pricing as expectation of drop in pollock biomass. Starting to see substitution demand from cod and haddock users.


15% decrease of Total Allowable Catch announced for haddock.  Price is still cheaper than cod.  Expectation of cod substitution to continue. 

Domestic Lake Fish:

Supply of Yellow Lake Perch, Walleye, Whitefish and Smelt has been plentiful on all sizes and is expected to remain so through Lent.  Costs have softened some as of late on the larger walleye sizes and perch, just in time for Lent.  Canadian bluegill continues to be a problem as the resource has experienced limited catches and is awaiting the start of the new season after the first of the year.   The sub for this item is the Chinese offering of bluegill.  This is the same species as the Canadian just grown out in Asia and is a great option to the current.  



Euro Lake Fish & Zander:

Supply is good and costs have softened some but are expected to remain stable for Lent   This is a more cost effective substitute for the higher priced domestic lake fish items where applicable.  Currently there is stock on all sizes of pike perch and European perch for Lent.  

Mahi Mahi:

Mahi Mahi costs have continued to soften as the season has resumed out of Peru and Ecuador down to 2013 and 2014 levels.   Reports indicate there is left over product from the 2018 season both domestically and over seas,  leaving the market in flux.   Current harvests now have yielded larger fish in the 6 and 8 oz portion levels where there has been limited production of the 4 oz size at this time.   This could flip as they move closer to the closure of the fishery and in more southern fishing areas specifically out of Peru.  Expect the market to be unstable at least through the spring where we can gauge if the excess inventories have been flushed out of the market. 


Frozen Tuna, Swordfish :

VIETNAM– Is going into the Chinese New Year. So, for the month of January production will be cut in half, with it totally closing down for 2 weeks. Because of the production slow down, raw material prices will be high. In March they will resume to full production and prices will be reviewed at that time for late spring arrivals.  .  INDONESIA – There are only a few regions in Indonesia landing raw material and those are minimal. With the lack of raw material, prices are firm and high from this region. Their season will start in late March/early April. Prices may find relief at that time, depending on the strength of those landings. Thailand – Landings are very minimal.  .  For Swordfisn, in Ecuador – all the boats have been fishing for Mahi, so there has been virtually no production. They will retool for Sword in March/April. Pricing will be reviewed at that time.  In Asia (Vietnam & Indonesia) – European demand continues to be much higher than usual, putting pressure on supply and pricing. Landings are tied directly to Tuna, so the notes above also apply to Sword.Thailand – Only processing frozen on-board product at this time. As a general rule, all of it is untreated. Landings are low. Prices are high and creeping up. Overall Limson has supply on all sizes with stable costs at this time and for Lent




Reports of more consistent swai supply from producing countries.


The tariff war has increased costs of product by 10% .  The potential for  another 15% increase has now been delayed until the beginning of March by the Trump administration.   

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:

Landings were initially reported to be down 30-40% in early December.  It is assumed a 2 million lb + shortfall of meat, as well as 4 million lb + shortfall of tails is expected.  Most sizes from the processors are on allocations with limited to no inventory on sizes larger than 5-6oz.   Some indications that landings have improved, but the damage had been done when the shore price reached extreme highs before the holidays and many processors closed for the winter.  Spring season starts in early May, but initially  a lot of this goes to live or whole lobster production in order to avoid a bottle neck from tail and meat production. Realistically look at improved availability in early June.  For now prices are high with limited supply on 6/7 oz tails.  Meat has bottomed out and is expected to firm on cost soon.   


Warm Water:

Supply has been short on warm water tails  after a late start to the season this summer.  Poor catches, increased demand out of Asia  and retailers taking a stronger position on the market have resulted in a firm undertone.     This trend continued through the holidays and is expected to remain firm until new season supplies start to arrive in July.     The WW tails in the 6 and 8 oz sizes might be a viable option to the lack of larger N Atl tails but  costs are a trade off as both species report a firm market and overall lack of supply.  

Seafood | Crab

Snow Crab:

The global shortage of snow crab continued  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.  However ..many are predicting  a large reduction in the snow crab quota out of Newfoundland come spring in zone 3L.  This will out weigh any increase out of Alaska and in the end, snow crab is still expected to be short and at it's lowest level since 2011.  As of late the 8-10 and 10 ups have bounced back up in cost due to limited supply.  5/8 have remained stable as the best cost option on snow crab at the moment.  Many predict another  high priced market for 2019 but movement will depend on what the market wil bear and if buyers move to other more cost efficient species. 




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

The scallop market is expected to start to soften as we enter into the spring season in time for harvest .  Strong demand has impacted cost on some of the larger sizes currently but that will change over time as well.  Supply is good on all sizes.   

Chinese Flounder and Ocean Perch:

10% tariff duty has been applied.  The possible  added 15% has now been pushed back to the beginning of March when the Trump administration will decide on a final ruling.