April 26th, 2018

Alerts & What’s Trending

  • CDC expands warnings on romaine lettuce from Yuma, Ariz.
  • E. coli outbreak expected to end as romaine season shifts to Calif. The E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., area is likely to end as seasonal production shifts to California. Restaurants and stores that received Yuma-grown romaine have been notified to pull it amid the outbreak that has sickened upwards of 50 people.
  • How to ensure menu-labeling compliance
    After years of delays, restaurants covered under new menu labeling requirements have until May 7 to ensure compliance. Betsy Craig of MenuTrinfo offers tips, including properly rounding the value of each ingredient, understanding how your analyses were done and training staff to answer customers’ questions.
  • 5 Common Issues During a Supply Chain Assessment
    A well thought out supply chain is one of the keys to a successful restaurant, while lack of forethought can lead to wasted product, lost revenue, and putting your guests at risk of a food-borne illness
  • Study: The U.S. wastes almost 150,000 tons of food daily
    A study in PLOS ONE found almost 150,000 tons of food per day was wasted from 2007 to 2014 in the US, with fruits, vegetables and mixed fruit and vegetable dishes topping the list, followed by dairy and meat. Researchers said teaching people to prepare and store fresh fruits and vegetables is one way to reduce waste.
  • Chef gets creative to cut waste, boost the bottom line
    Chef Tim Ma keeps his menu fresh and saves money by turning kitchen scraps into inventive dishes at Kyirisan in Washington, D.C. Bones from bass filets become the base for fish stock, carrot tops go into pesto and fried kale stems add texture to a salad.


As of now, Romaine, Romaine Hearts, and Broccoli are the only commodities to be experiencing supply issues, but overall quality is great. As the Florida Tomato Spring harvests continue to pick up, Florida is in its peak Tomato season with good production and good volumes out of both Central and South Florida. Growing conditions have been optimal, and production is expected to remain strong through the month of May. Mexican Tomato production is also boasting abundant volumes with harvests out of multiple growing areas. Out of the East, Cucumbers, and Red, Orange, and Yellow Bell Pepper supplies continue to be tight. Supplies are expected to increase in the next couple of weeks as Peppers out of the Coachella growing regions begin harvesting. Avocado Demand is expected to increase due to the Cinco de Mayo holiday and Pricing has continued to raise. There continues to be a size curve trending towards the 60s and 70s. The lime market continues to see improvement as supplies increase, specifically smaller sizes and pricing continues to decrease slowly week over week. Orange supplies remain very tight on smaller sized fruit 113s and smaller. Supplies are expected to increase mid-may when Valencias begin hitting the market.



Food oil prices have been fairly range-bound in recent weeks. Concerns remain around increasing use of food oil in biodiesel usage in the U.S. as it was up 37.6% year-on-year during January. But sluggish food oil exports are keeping a lid on prices. History suggests the greater price risk is to the upside.  Coffee prices have continued to meander at historically low levels. World coffee supplies are adequate, while the value of the Brazilian Real remains depressed. These factors could cause relatively engaging coffee prices to persevere during the next several months.



U.S. milk output growth is slowing. According to the USDA, domestic milk production during March was just 1.3% larger than the previous year due to a .2% larger milk cow herd and a 1.1% gain in milk per cow yields. Farmers reduced the herd by a net 2,000 head during the month marking the first such occurrence since October. The March herd was still the third largest for any month going back to 1996. Milk output expansion could remain slow into the summer which, along with solid exports may underpin dairy prices including cheese, butter and nonfat dry milk.



Beef production last week rose 3% and was up 6% from the same week last year. Solid year-over-year gains in beef output is expected to persist. The April 1st cattle on feed inventory was a whopping 7.4% bigger than 2017, but March placements into feedlots were down 9.3%. There are signs that overall cattle herd growth is at least slowing. On April 1st, the number of heifers on feed carried the largest percentage of total cattle on feed for the date in five years. The higher percentage suggests fewer female cows are being held to breed. Increased retail feature activity could support ground beef prices soon, but larger trim supplies this year should make those seasonal price gains less intense.



Pork output last week increased 2.8% and was 6.5% larger than the same week a year ago. The USDA is estimating spring pork production to be 4.7% more than last year which should temper typical seasonal price gains for pork in the coming weeks. Retailers are increasing retail feature activity for bacon after pork belly prices recently hit their lowest level since September 2016. On March 31st , domestic pork belly stocks were 188% bigger than 2017 and the largest since June 2016. Still, the downside risk for bellies from here is likely limited.



Chicken production for the week ending April 14th rose 2.7% from the previous week and was 2.8% more than the same week last year. The six-week total of chicken slaughter was down .8% from 2017, but the average broiler weight was up 1.7%. Although chicken output remains above year-ago levels, there are signs that year-over-year gains could slow later this year. The April broiler layer flock was 4.3% larger than a year ago and the broiler type chick hatch during the month was higher by 1.2%. However, pullet placements during March were 1.8% less than the previous year. The ARA chicken breast index has fallen 7% in the last two weeks. The chicken wing markets are pricing at their lowest levels for this time of year since 2014.



The shrimp markets continue to mostly track below year-ago levels. Strong U.S. shrimp imports have helped. During February, the U.S. imported 14.7% more shrimp than the previous year. A firming U.S. dollar would only encourage shrimp imports further in the coming months. The shrimp markets are expected to trend near 2017 levels into the summer.

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