Pork prices beef up

It's time to talk about the "other" white meat! Whether you are talking about loins, bellies or chops, pork is a major contributor to the summer grilling season.

Typically, we will see pork prices increase as we approach summer as retailers and foodservice operators gear up for the grilling season. What we have currently are pork cutout prices lower than what they were two weeks ago.

The decrease in the price of pork bellies is considered to be a major factor in the pork cutout value decline. Pork Belly prices are off about 35 percent from last year. Strong demand from South Korea contributed to the high prices of pork bellies last year as well as food service promotions and active freezer builds.

These trends have reversed with exports slowing down and a lack of food service promos at this time. Other items that have shown weakness lately are hams and other pork trimmings. Analysts point to a sharp increase in hog carcass weights which are currently 2 pounds higher than a year ago and some 6 pounds higher than in 2010 as a major driver of the pork cutout values. Analysts will be keeping an eye on hog weights going into the summer.

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