ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Recent US Cold Storage report shows declining pork supplies

The most recent Cold Storage report from the US shows that stocks of red meat and poultry have declined alongside supplies of chilled fruit, according to AFBF market analysis.

30 June 2021, at 10:50am

The latest Cold Storage report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, released this week , shows depressed levels of red meat and poultry as well as a marked decrease in total fruit stocks. The monthly report shows the end-of-month volume of commodities in freezer storage throughout the US.

Meat and poultry in cold storage

At the end of May, total cold storage stocks of meat and poultry (excluding duck) came in at slightly above 2 billion pounds. This is approximately 190 million pounds, or 9%, below a year ago. All meat and poultry categories showed a year-over-year decline, with chicken declining the most.

Total levels of red meat and poultry have been down since the height of the pandemic last year when packing plants were severely disrupted by the, leading to a decline in production and consumer panic buying. Total levels of animal protein followed the typical seasonal pattern through the rest of 2020 but began to diverge from the expected in February 2021. Normally, stocks would begin to rebuild this time of year, but instead cold storage levels have been declining for the last several months.

At the beginning of the pandemic, pork in cold storage dropped significantly and has not recovered. However, since May of last year, pork has followed typical seasonal patterns without experiencing any more declines, but also not rebuilding its levels either.

May is a month in which we have to take into account base effects when looking at year-over-year comparisons for pork. Compared to recent history, we are looking at very low levels of pork in cold storage, but due to the drop in May 2020 it is only registering as a 1% year-over-year decline. Total pork in cold storage was reported at 461 million pounds, a drop of just under 7 million pounds from last year.

Summary

USDA’s latest Cold Storage report shows the animal protein supply chain still struggling with the impacts of COVID-19. At the end of May, total cold storage stocks of meat and poultry (excluding duck) came in at slightly above 2 billion pounds. This is approximately 190 million pounds, or 9%, below a year ago. The story in cold storage so far in 2021 is largely a chicken story, with the overall declines in red meat and poultry mostly being driven by a 130-million-pound reduction in chicken in cold storage.