In the retail channel, according to the Perishable Group, for the 13-week period ended June 30, overall fresh sales -- overall sales of fresh meat were down 3.3% in volume versus the same period a year ago, driven by a 0.6% increase in price. Beef and pork volume were down 7% and 1.7%, respectively. Chicken was the only category that saw pounds sold increase versus a year ago, but the increase was very slight at 0.2% and demand feels sluggish to us.
The USDA forecast food prices will continue to rise in 2013, led by meat, eggs and dairy, as a result of the drought. Beef prices are expected to be up 4% to 5%; pork, up 2.5% to 3.5%; and poultry, up 3% to 4%.
In the foodservice channel, Technomic revised its 2012-2013 forecast upward to 1.7% real annual growth, up 1.1% from its previous forecast. The National Restaurant Association's Performance Index was stable for June. And while we still feel sluggish demand in foodservice and the outlook is far from robust, these indexes might indicate that perhaps the worst is over.
The NPD Group's consensus of commercial restaurant locations finds that numbers of both independent and chain restaurants have risen, with independents finally showing a slight increase for the first time since 2009, another hopeful sign.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com