nina | February 28th, 2012 - 9:00 am

U.S. commercial pork production in January totaled 1.99 billion pounds, 5 percent above the previous year, while poultry certified wholesome (ready-to-cook weight) totaled 3.62 billion pounds, down 1 percent from the amount certified in January 2011, according to USDA reports released today.

In its Livestock Slaughter report, USDA put hog slaughter at 9.54 million head, 5 percent above January 2011 with average live weights unchanged from the previous year, at 278 pounds.

Beef production, at 2.11 billion pounds, was slightly below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.72 million head, down 1 percent from January 2011. The average live weight was down 1 pound from the previous year, at 1,300 pounds.

In its Poultry Slaughter report, USDA revised December 2011 certified total poultry at 3.37 billion pounds, was down 9 percent from December 2010. The December revision represented an increase of 1.69 million pounds from last month’s preliminary pounds certified.

The preliminary total live weight of all federally inspected poultry during January 2012 was 4.80 billion pounds, down 1 percent from 4.84 billion pounds a year ago.

Young chickens inspected totaled 4.12 billion pounds, down 1 percent from January 2011. Mature chickens, at 67.9 million pounds, were up 6 percent from the previous year. Turkey inspections totaled 600 million pounds, up 3 percent from a year ago. Ducks totaled 14.3 million pounds, down 1 percent from last year.

Young chickens slaughtered during January 2012 averaged 5.84 pounds per bird, down slightly from January 2011. The average live weight of mature chickens was 5.29 pounds per bird, down 4 percent from a year ago. Turkeys slaughtered during January 2012 averaged 30.9 pounds per bird, up slightly from January 2012. 

January 2011 contained 21 weekdays (including 1 holiday) and five Saturdays.  January 2012 contained 22 weekdays (including 2 holidays) and four Saturdays.

Source:  meatingplace, 2/24/12


nina | February 27th, 2012 - 9:00 am

Pink Lady apples rank first in flavonoid content.

Pink Lady apples have the highest levels of a compound linked to heart health, according to a recent study of various apple varieties.

In a test conducted by researchers at the University of Western Australia and the Western Australia Department of Agriculture, Pink Lady ranked first in the levels of flavonoids, a common plant pigment compound that has the potential to improve heart healtH.

Golden delicious, gala, hopper crab and more than 25 other Australian commercial and pre-breeding varieties were included in the study.

Most of the Pink Lady’s flavonoids were found in the fruit’s skin, according to researchers.

The study found that apples rich in flavonoids aid in blood vessel relaxation, which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Source:  The Packer/2/3/12


nina | February 24th, 2012 - 9:00 am

Farmers Plan Biggest Crops Since 1984, Led by Corn.U.S. farmers will plant the most acres in a generation this year, led by the biggest corn crop since World War II, taking advantage of the highest agricultural prices in at least four decades.They will sow corn, soybeans and wheat on 226.9 million acres, the most since […]


nina | February 23rd, 2012 - 9:00 am

International fare and regionally produced ingredients are the hottest trends in deli department foods, according to recently released annual trends publication of the International Dairy·Deli·Bakery Association (IDDBA).

Eighty-two percent of consumers enjoy visiting supermarket delis that feature newer and trendier items, regardless of whether they regularly purchase these items. Delis need to cultivate an image so that customers are more receptive to new products, trends and menu ideas.

Ready-to-eat foods are always popular at the deli. For instance, deli pizzas are trending toward smaller portions, artisan pizzas with regional and ethnic flavors and local produce for toppings. Rotisserie chicken recipes are joining in on ethnic food trends with flavors like lime-cilantro and chipotle-barbecue. Deli chicken wings and now turkey wings are also popular deli case offerings. Delis are preparing their own signature sauces for the wings.

Top trendy ethnic items attracting shoppers in deli sandwiches/prepared food areas are:
Crêpes:  27.6%
Chipotle Flavors:  24%
 Hummus  23.4%
Korean BBQ:  22.7%
Empanadas:  21.6%

Source:  Meatingplace.com, 2/3/12


nina | February 22nd, 2012 - 9:00 am

Only 48 percent of Americans eat breakfast every day.

That figure is even lower among millenials and gen-Xers; 64 percent of those populations do not eat breakfast every day. However, 61 percent of adults think breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Residents of Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth reported skipping breakfast most frequently.

Forty-six percent agreed that it is hard to find nutritious and delicious breakfast options.

Source:  meatingplace in print online, 2/20/2012


nina | February 21st, 2012 - 9:00 am

Grilling bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts feels like it should be simple enough.  And even the most experienced grillers have a tendency to cook them directly over the heat, figuring it’s just a matter of timing.  This method can cause dripping fat to cause flare-ups that engulf the chicken, charring the skin while the meat remains […]


nina | February 20th, 2012 - 3:15 pm

YOUR DAILY LIMIT:  2,300MG  = 1 TEASPOON. The government’s 2011 update of the Dietary Guidelines continued to recommend 2,300mg of sodium per day for adults, but there is a huge asterisk:  The level for African-Americans, people with hypertension, and anyone over the age of 51 dropped to 1,500mg.  That’s basically half the population.  Yet the […]


nina | February 14th, 2012 - 9:00 am

There would seem no way possible 2012 could be as withering a year in commodity prices as 2011, and the New Year kicked off with positive news: Congress allowed its 30-year-old subsidies for corn-based ethanol to expire. Ethanol will still be produced, but commodity forecasters expect that in the long run, corn-based fuel production will take up less and less of the corn crop, meaning less competition and better prices for food uses.

But what does the rest of the year hold?

What to watch: Exchange rate
One of the key factors in commodity price fluctuation is the value of the U.S. dollar versus other commodity-producing-countries’ currencies, namely the Euro, the New Zealand dollar, the Brazilian real and the Australian dollar. The higher the U.S. dollar is valued in relation to these, the better the domestic price is for commodities. The recent trend has been toward a relatively stronger dollar, especially in light of the troubled Euro.

The problem of the last couple of years has been two-fold: weak crops and competition from bio-fuel, which have led to the tightest corn market in 15 years.  Current elevated corn prices versus fertilizer and other costs would provide a better profit over most other crop alternatives for farmers, like soybeans and wheat.  Current circumstances should favor a corn acreage increase this year.

What to watch: Protein production
Chicken was a good deal last year because of excess production.  This willprobably change this year, with high prices for feed and last year’s overproduction driving 2012 production down. Similarly, feed prices and droughts in cow country will drive beef production down. Pork and dairy production should be slightly higher.

Source:  Monkeydish, 1/16/2012


nina | February 2nd, 2012 - 9:00 am

Fast casual restaurants represent 14% of all quick-service restaurant sales, compared to 5% nearly 10 years ago.  Fast casual restaurants are expected to continue outpacing the industry over the next five years.

Fast casual restaurants now represent 14 percent of all quick-service restaurant sales, compared to 5 percent just ten years ago.  They are expected to continue outpacing the industry over the next five years, when fast casual growth is forecasted to compound 8 percent annually.

Even though the fast casual segment is categorized among limited-service restaurants, they also compete strongly with full-service casual dining on several levels.

Fast casual restaurants share a fast-food service system and strong takeout orientation.  Check averages tend to be under $9.00.  You can further break this segment down into categories that include bakery cafes, Mexican/Southwest, specialty, sandwich, chicken, and burger concepts.

Source:  PR Newswire, 1/26/2012


nina | February 1st, 2012 - 9:00 am

USDA reported the smallest total cattle and calves inventory on January 1 since 1952 and a calf crop in 2011 that was the smallest since 1950, reflecting even tighter cattle supplies than market analysts were expecting.

In its twice-yearly Cattle report, USDA pegged cattle and calves in the U.S. as of January 1, 2012 at 90.9 million head, 2.1 percent below the 92.7 million a year ago and the lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all cattle and calves since the 88.1 million on hand in 1952.

On an average, analysts were expecting the inventory decline by about 1.7 percent.

Beef cow inventories declined by 3.1 percent, while analysts were expecting a 2.8 percent decline.

With beef packer margins suffering despite larger near-term cattle availability, margins likely will remain under pressure absent capacity reductions as cattle supplies tighten further.  Smaller cattle supply coupled with the increase in cattle on feed indicates cattle supplies should continue to tighten as cattle placements likely will continue to trend below year-ago levels.

Source:  meatingplace, Industry News AM, 1/30/12

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