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Jim Long Pork Commentary: what’s in a name?

6 March 2020, at 10:00am

We all can remember that the Swine Flu outbreak had nothing to do with Swine, but it certainly hurt pork demand. We have lived through Swine Flu, SARS, MERS, Y2K (all computers were going to quit on January 1st, 2000).

Thank goodness the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) problem is not called swine flu. All you have to do is look at the following data on a survey of 737 people re Corona Beer.

The Survey- conducted by 5W Public relations noted:

  • 38 percent of beer drinkers claimed they would not buy the Mexican beer Corona under any circumstances while the virus spreads worldwide
  • 14 percent of those queried said they regularly drink Corona beer but would now not do so in public.
  • The confusion continued as 16 percent of those surveyed said they weren’t sure whether the Coronavirus was related to beer.

Appears to be a lot of confusion and lack of knowledge in some parts of population. Next week we are going to Mexico on business. Probably will risk it and have a Corona.

Observations

We all have seen the big drop in US Stock Market and lean hog futures. So far during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) break, US Exports have held.

  • A week ago 42,000 metric tonnes up 18 percent from the week before.
  • Since the 1st of January US Pork Exports are up 91 percent year over year.
    • 2019 =158,043 YTD
    • 2020 = 302,000 YTD. An increase roughly of 20,000 tonnes a week.
  • Hog slaughter is up about 200,000 a week year to date.
  • The export increases are about equal to the increase in hog production.
    • China up 400 percent,
    • Mexico up 57 percent,
    • Japan 108 percent.

It’s really, really good to see jump in exports.

Last year this time 53-54 percent lean hogs were 51.85₵ lb., now they are 55.21₵ lb. A year ago lean hogs went to 75₵ lb. by the first part of April. If exports continue as is and seasonal hog slaughter declines, maybe we will see the same this year.

The wildcard is Coronavirus (COVID-19) but when we look at Global Hog price, we see mostly increases in the last week. In South Korea, which has been hit by Coronavirus (COVID-19) market hogs have gone from January 21st being 89.49₵ US liveweight a lb. to $1.57 a lb., on February 27. Not exactly declining.

We expect consumer behavior will slow purchasing of non- essential items but food (pork) will not see much shortfall in demand.

In the misery loves company front; Beyond Meat (Fake Meat) lost nearly 20 per cent last Friday. In valuation Peak price of shares were $240 last July. They have now fallen below $100. About $1 billion has been lost in stock value. Current stock value valuation is 221 times expected earnings. At some point someone better eat the stuff.

Focus Group - My son cooking at McDonald's

  • 1 out of 100 are Beyond Meat Burgers. At some point you need to sell something or there is no future.

As an industry our best answer to fake meat is to work to make a better tasting product.

  • More marbling in our pork will deliver better taste.
  • Taste drives demand.
  • Making a better tasting product only makes sense.

Some parts of the meat industry are starting to get it!

At Genesus we have had a concentrated plan to develop better tasting pork for over twenty (20) years.

If every American ate one more meal of pork a month it would be equivalent to 7 million hogs a year.