U.S. Retail Meat: Heat Wave Slows Appetites, Consumption

Date : 07/05/2012 @ 2:06PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)
Quote : 75.035  -0.405 (-0.54%) @ 11:42AM

U.S. Retail Meat: Heat Wave Slows Appetites, Consumption

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--Lighter meals to be the focus during 'dog days of summer'

--Deli meats, prepared foods expected to snare more advertising space

--Beef, pork, chicken to share about equal space in circulars for balance of July

 
   By Curt Thacker 
 

The heat wave that has been encamped across much of the nation is blamed for slowing appetites and reducing consumption of meats as people tend to eat lighter meals when temperatures are high.

Even for those dedicated to grilling during the summer despite the heat, smaller cuts may be selected or steaks might be shared with another. The heat saps appetites, and consuming fewer calories means less buildup in body temperature, analysts said.

During the hottest periods of the summer, normally mid-July through early August, many people eat lighter meals such as salads and cold-meat sandwiches. Shoppers also tend to purchase products that don't take a lot of preparation or cooking at home.

"When it's in the upper 90s to 100 [degrees Fahrenheit] outside, the food preparer of the home doesn't want to run up the temperature in the kitchen as well," a meat-and-poultry broker said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's choice-beef-carcass price has fallen in seven of the past nine days for a total decline of about 2.5% in value, and the pork-carcass quote has fallen in five of the last six days, tumbling nearly 10% during that period. While some decline in wholesale prices is normal during the time after most of the orders for Independence Day promotions were filled and shipped, part of the price declines may be due to the heat, analysts said.

For many shoppers, a precooked meal such as rotisserie chicken or other prepared foods from the deli department at the grocery or take-out from fast-food restaurants may be the preferred choice during midsummer. More of these products are expected to be found in grocers' weekly circulars.

Among the meat and poultry cuts likely to be promoted over the next few weeks are ground beef, some steaks for backyard grilling, pork chops and country-style ribs, along with chicken breasts and leg-quarters. The three categories of beef, pork and chicken will likely share about an equal amount of space in the printed advertisements. Few, if any, roasts will be promoted since preparing them would require heating up the kitchen, analysts said.

 
U.S. Retail Meat Spreadsheet 
                                               Jul  Jun   Yr 
  BEEF         Atl  NYC  Chg  Hst   KC   LA      5   28  Ago 
gnd beef       unq  273  399  259  332  349    322  279  235 
gnd chuck      279  unq  299  299  399  unq    319  268  264 
gnd round      unq  299  unq  unq  349  unq    324  382  299 
brisket        unq  unq  unq  274  369  unq    322  309  279 
stew meat      unq  379  399  unq  399  unq    392  399  392 
 
 Steak 
Sirloin        unq  549  599  599  unq  399    537  475  445 
t-bone         unq  unq  699  unq  699  799    732  766  642 
strip/shell    899  unq  649  397  632  899    695  572  733 
rib-eye        899  999  949  399  999  unq    849  655  849 
round          unq  349  329  299  unq  299    319  376  361 
chuck          unq  299  366  unq  346  299    328  396  308 
 
 Roast 
bone-in chk    unq  unq  unq  unq  349  unq    349  329  289 
bnls chuck     unq  349  299  249  295  299    298  419  359 
srln/tri-tip   unq  unq  unq  unq  699  unq    699  431  423 
bnls rump      unq  unq  unq  unq  369  unq    369  399  337 
15-cut avg                                     457  430  414 
 
  PORK 
bacon          344  355  349  399  274  399    353  332  380 
bnls ctr cut   399  299  269  399  249  449    344  338  349 
bnls ham       unq  399  349  unq  287  unq    345  343  272 
spare-ribs     199  216  224  199  179  unq    203  212  244 
cntry-style    249  204  188  unq  149  unq    198  201  195 
5-cut avg                                      289  285  288 
 
  CHICKEN 
whole          unq   97  114  127  unq  unq    113  122   98 
bnls brst      198  249  274  299  199  223    240  212  252 
2-cut avg                                      177  167  175 
 
 Note: "unq" is for unquoted as no prices were available for 
       those particular cuts this week.) 
 

("US Retail Meat" provides a weekly look at retail meat price trends through reporting and analysis by Curt Thacker. Pricing information is collected from supermarket circulars in six metropolitan areas and compared with historical data.)

 
    Write to Curt Thacker at curt.thacker@dowjones.com 
 



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