close window

COMMODITY FOOD MARKET UPDATES:   w/o  May 13, 2024

CATEGORY NEAR-TERM MARKET PRICING TREND SUPPLY vs. DEMAND DSR MARKET INSIGHTS COMMENTARY
Beef (Commodity) Steady Available - Mixed Demand projections for Beef in front of Mother's Day and Memorial weekend have been dialed back. We expect no volume bump, and little to no price appreciation through the remainder of the month. However, we will see last minute price rallies. Caution, price value will be artificial and short lived.     
Butter Increasing Available - Steady Domestic butter demand is generally steady from retail and food service sectors. However, for unsalted butter loads, demand is stronger. Cream volumes are comfortable across the nation and able to accommodate manufacturing needs. In the West region, butter production is strong. In the Central and East regions, butter production is steady. Some butter makers have tight availability with unsalted butter loads for spot buyers. In the cold storage report from last week, March 2024 butter stocks were up 6% from February 2024 and up 2% from March 2023.

East Region Cream demand is steady. Butter plant managers share steady churning schedules in line with recent weeks. Last week's cold storage report revealed March butter stocks were up 6 percent from February and up 2 percent from March 2023. Retail demand is seasonally steady. Foodservice demand is unchanged from recent weeks.

Central Region Bulls continue to lead the charge on butter markets. The March 2024 Cold Storage report noted moderate increases in year-over-year. Contacts' butter takeaways from a large industry conference that took place this week are mostly bullish. Cream availability remains wide open. Central butter makers continue to say both regional and cream sourced from the West are holding in a similar pricing pattern to recent weeks.

West Region Butter manufacturers convey production schedules are strong. Industry participants identify availability of cream volumes in the region as comfortable. Although some butter makers are securing additional loads for churning, some stakeholders say buyer interest for spot market cream loads is light for the West. Butter manufacturers are building adequate butter stocks for anticipated Q3/Q4 demands. Domestic demand is steady for salted butter and stronger for unsalted butter. Many butter manufacturers have tight availability of unsalted butter loads for spot purchasers. Export demand is moderate.

Source: USDA AMS as of May 3
Cheese Increasing Available - Steady Cheesemakers continue to relay steady to stronger production schedules across all regions. The March 2024 Cold Storage report revealed that natural cheese stocks were up slightly from February 2024, but down from March 2023. In the Northeast, cheese inventories are said to be comfortable. Retail cheese demand is steady in the region. Cheese manufacturers in the Central region say demand is strengthening. Some processors shared having to turn away customers. Some contacts shared requests for cheese volumes beyond what a customer has already contracted may not be able to be accommodated. Milk availability has tightened in the region. In the West, cheese manufacturers share strong production schedules. Milk volumes are available for Class III processors at the moment, but contacts indicate milk availability may tighten in the upcoming weeks. Cheese inventories are comfortable. Domestic cheese demand is said to be stronger, while international demand is steady.

East Region Milk production remains strong. Cheese plant managers relay steady-to-stronger production schedules. Last week's cold storage report revealed natural cheese stocks in March 2024 were up only slightly from February 2024, but down slightly from March 2023. Contacts share cheese inventories remain comfortable despite recent increases in cheese demand. Retail cheese demand is steady. Foodservice demand remains light.

Central Region Over the past few weeks, the demand tone relayed from Midwestern cheesemakers has begun to strengthen. This week's notes from Central Class III contacts are echoing that sentiment. Cheesemakers are beginning to turn away customers, and they are letting current customers know any requests for extra volumes will not be possible. Curd orders have begun to tick up, seasonally. Barrel makers say any extra barrels are spoken for. Production is somewhat steady in the region. As more processing comes online, milk availability has begun to tighten. Cheese market tones are firm/firming.

West Region Cheese manufacturers indicate production schedules remain strong. Cheese makers report milk volumes are ample for manufacturing needs. However, some stakeholder sentiment is that milk volumes may soon become tighter for Class III processors in parts of the West region. Cheese stocks remain comfortably available to accommodate interests from contractual and spot load buyers. Demand from domestic purchasers is stronger. Demand from international purchasers is steady. Industry participants convey contractual buying interest is more focused on short-term needs than mid-to-long term needs.

Source: USDA AMS as of May 3
Canned Vegetables - Whole Potatoes & Whole Beets Increasing Short - Strong While limited inventories may still be present of larger whole sizes, inventory of 6/10 Small or Tiny Whole Potatoes and Whole Beets are exhausted until new pack in late August.       
Fluid Dairy Class I - Decreasing                Class II - Increasing Class I Available - Steady     Class II Short - Strong For May, expect a decrease on Milk (Class I) and an increase on Cultured/Creams (Class II). 
 Oils/Shortening Steady Available - Mixed Soybean oil has traded slightly higher in the markets in recent days. This will likely translate into slightly higher prices on a JIB of oil in the coming days. However the change will likely be very insignificant. Other Oilseed products will likely follow-suit as all oilseed markets trend in similar patterns. There are still no expected near term changes in Premium Shortenings near term.
Pork (Commodity) Increasing Available - Strong Prices for butts, Spare Ribs, and St. Louis Spare Ribs are on the rise through Memorial Day, while backrib prices are on the gentle rise for through June.
Pork (Value-Added) Steady Available – Steady The belly value is relatively flat for the next month or so, expect bacon pricing to remain stable.
Poultry (Chicken) Steady Short – Steady Pricing on most cuts have remained steady this week. Tenderloins have continued to appreciate slightly each day this week. Wings remain in tight supply, but not directly correlated to demand. The back half of the bird remains steady and supply is tight. 
Poultry (Turkey) Steady Available – Strong Frozen whole bird pricing remains steady and well below pricing we saw a year ago. Breast meat also remains steady with plentiful availability. Expectation is this will remain the pattern near term. 
Produce Lower - Bell Peppers, Strawberries & Yellow Onions                  
Steady - Apples, Broccoli & Russet Potatoes                  
Higher -  Avocados, Oranges, Iceberg, Romaine, Value-Added Lettuces, Lemons, Grapes, Tomatoes & Red Onions     
 Improving/Steady -  Strawberries, Broccoli & Yellow Onions             Good/Steady -  Apples, Bell Peppers,  Oranges, Russet Potatoes                           Short/Strong -   Iceberg, Romaine, Value-Added Lettuces, Tomatoes, Avocados, Lemons, Grapes & Red Onions         Apples, Galas, Golds & Pinks supply low, market up on those verities.                                                                      
Avocados, MX volume lower, costs up, ripens quickly.  Good quality.                                                                          
Bell Peppers, MX & FL spring crops are sufficient. Quality good.                                                                          
Broccoli, Salinas has good supplies. Market steady. Better quality.                                                          
Iceberg, Salinas struggling with weather related quality issues.                         
Value-Added/Fresh Cut Lettuce costs are escalated.               
Romaine, Salinas struggling with weather related quality issues.                                                                            
Grapes, import supply is short. MX starts in late May. Good quality.                                                                             
Tomatoes, demand exceeds supply. Costs elevated. Average quality.                                                                                                            
Strawberries, ample supplies of nice, sound berries.                                                                                                                                                                               
Oranges, rains sized up the CA Val crop. 88/113/138s are scarce.                                                                                   
Lemons, rains sized up the CA/AZ crop. 165/200/235s are scarce.                                                           
Onions, new crop Yellow good supply, cost lower. Reds tight & higher.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Russet Potatoes, 40-60ct somewhat limited supply. 70-120ct and #2 supplies are nice quality and dirt cheap.
Bulk Sugar Steady Mixed - Steady Demand for sugar typically starts increasing in the spring. This will put more pressure on producers to maintain supply. Product is available from most facilities to cover such demand. Price levels will likely stay at similar levels in the coming weeks.
Shell Eggs Decreasing Available - Steady Consumer demand for shell eggs declined over the past week as retailers offer little in the way of price breaks on ad to entice shoppers to purchase beyond basic needs Negotiated prices on the loose egg market are lower on light to moderate interest and moderate offerings and supplies. Trading is slow to moderate. Wholesale breaking stock prices are lower on light demand. Offerings are moderate to available with moderate supplies. Breaking schedules remain full to reduced and trading is slow. The preliminary survey of retail outlets indicates a slight increase in activity for conventional caged shell eggs this ad cycle with no change in the average ad price. Most focus this ad cycle is on specialty shell eggs. Source: USDA AMS as of May 8

Avian Influenza: at the beginning of April there were three reports of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Michigan (4/2 and 4/9) and in Texas (4/2).  Though these are the same type of outbreaks that led to widespread flock depopulations in 2022 and subsequent increases in market prices for eggs in 2022 and early 2023, the current scale of these late-2023 outbreaks is much smaller than that which were experienced last year.  Urner Barry reports steady spot market pricing despite news of these outbreaks, however it is important to remain vigilant regarding local market conditions that may affect supply and spot pricing.
Wheat (Flour Based Products) Steady Available - Weak Wheat Market prices have seen little change in recent days. World supply is steadily available to meet demand. Spring planting season in in progress with no major news to report. The pricing levels on bulk flour and flour-based finished-goods will remain at similar levels as we move deeper into the month.
All UniPro Foodservice DSR Market Insights information is based on domestic US market data only, unless indicated otherwise. The UniPro Foodservice Market DSR Insights update is not a recommendation to buy or sell a commodity.  While this update is based on sources we believe to be reliable and accurate, UniPro Foodservice does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented.