'Pork belly effect' pushes up prices all year round

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
11 October 2014

Demand for pork products such as hot dogs and ribs have pushed up prices and removed seasonal variations, according to Lynx Purchasing’s Market Forecast.

Lynx Purchasing said the “pork belly effect”, describing a cut which was once low cost but increased in price after becoming fashionable, had extended to other cuts.

Lynx cited research by analysts Horizons, which found that hot dogs appeared on 86 per cent more menus in June 2014 compared to June 2013 and pork ribs was the second biggest riser, featuring on 15 per cent more menus.

John Pinder, managing director at Lynx, said: “We’re definitely now seeing what you might call the pork belly effect extend to other cuts. Where pork belly was once a very cost effective option for dishes such as stews and pies, once gastropubs and then national pub and restaurant groups moved it centre-plate the price inevitably increased.

“We’re now seeing a similar effect on pork shoulder, which is an ideal cut for slow cooking. With pulled pork now appearing not simply on the menu in specialist BBQ restaurants but in many mainstream restaurants and pubs, demand for pork shoulder is high all year round.”

Pinder said pork still represented good value for money but “the price is going to remain at a steady level all year round rather than see the seasonal variations that clever operators have been able to take advantage of in the past”.

He said the exception was streaky bacon prices, which would be pushed higher as demand increased in the run-up to Christmas.

The forecast also sounded a warning on turkey prices, which took a seasonal upturn earlier than expected at the start of September, but the overall picture won’t be clear until mid-November after birds are fully ready.

Pinder said mild weather across the UK and Europe meant there was good availability of fresh produce while Russia’s ban on imports of food and drink from the UK would generate bargains for products such as smoked salmon and premium cheeses “that were previously earmarked for the oligarchs”.

 

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