Equities climbed early Tuesday, helping to drag Cattle futures along, but late pressure took them lower.
Other than 5¢ lower in spot Apr, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.03 lower (60¢ to $1.47 lower).
Except for 2¢ lower in spot Mar, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.96 lower ($1.17 to $2.50 lower).
Wholesale beef values were steady on Choice and higher on Select with moderate demand and light to moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 9¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $206.62/cwt. Select was $1.54 higher at $202.70.
Corn futures closed 3¢ to 7¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 2¢ higher through Jan ’21 and then mostly fractionally lower.
Equities started Tuesday’s Wall Street session extending the previous day’s gains, helped along by the Federal Reserve announcing a 0.50% rate cute, ahead of its regular meeting.
“The fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong. However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity. In light of these risks and in support of achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower the target range for the federal funds rate by 0.50% to 1.0% to 1.25%,” according to the Fed statement. “The Committee is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook and will use its tools and act as appropriate to support the economy.”
Investor attitudes soured later in the session, though, pushing major U.S. financial indices lower. One theory is that investors took the early rate cut by the Fed to mean that worse economic data than expected is in the wings.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 785 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 86 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 268 points.
Demand for meat is accelerating with $50.5 billion in sales for 2019, according to The Power of Meat 2020—the 15th-annual in-depth study of meat and poultry through shoppers’ eyes—from the Food Industry Association (FMI), the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education and the foundation for the North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute).
Meat department sales are strong in dollars and volume, driven by beef and chicken, and spending per household increased. When it comes to meat consumption, moderation is far more popular than elimination, with flexitarians (12%) looking to reduce their animal protein through smaller portion sizes and/or a day without meat/poultry.
“One of the most compelling storylines in the analysis is that 83% of shoppers purchase specific cuts of meat and they are eating smaller portions, but with total volume sales up slightly, that means they are eating less more often,” says Rick Stein, FMI Vice President, Fresh Foods.
Among the top 10 findings of the Power of Meat 2020:
Plant-based meat alternatives are a small but growing market. Total store plant-based meat alternative sales were $760 million in 2019 and grew 11.8%. They are mostly an occasional choice driven by perceived health benefits, being a good source of protein, just something different and for environmental reasons. Blended vegetable/meat items, such as mushroom burgers, have a higher and greater cross-population appeal, and can be a bridge to the societal and health benefits people look for, while keeping meat on the plate.
Time-saving solutions drive meat and cooking appliance choices. While the number of weekly home-cooked meals dropped to 4.5 over 2019, dinners containing animal protein increased to 3.9. Newer cooking appliances, including the Instant Pot and air fryer, continue to make inroads in both ownership and being used to prepare meat and poultry.
Production claims remain popular. Organic, grass-fed and no-antibiotics-ever offerings saw robust sales gains, but overall trust in such claims is only moderate. Building trust in and understanding of claims is key to continued growth.
Supermarkets remain meat powerhouses with some gains in online meat sales. More than half of shoppers primarily buy meat and poultry at supermarkets. Forty percent of shoppers ordered groceries and 19% ordered meat and poultry online, up from 14% last year.
Brands continued to benefit from being a preferred purchase among younger shoppers. 2019 was a strong year for private brands (+12.3%). Shoppers want to hear from brands about nutrition (58%), food safety practices (57%), animal care practices (46%) and the brand’s environmental impact (40%).
Sixty-eight percent of shoppers feel it is important for grocery stores to provide transparency into how and where livestock was raised.
Sustainability concerns impact meat and poultry choices, but 49% believe, if done properly, animal agriculture does not have negative impacts on the planet. Environmental sustainability is affecting protein choices. While 34% of consumers believe raising livestock has some or a lot of negative impact on the planet, this belief is much stronger among younger generations. The industry has an opportunity to improve the availability of unbiased environmental impact information to educate on steps taken to protect the planet.