Falling Grain Prices Shift Landscape for Restaurants, Processors

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- One big trend has flown under most investors' radar this summer: lower grain prices.

Ever since the growing season started, futures prices on corn, wheat and soybeans have been headed in the same direction –- down.

If these were stocks we’d call it a bear market. Corn for November delivery was at $5.00/bushel, and is now at $3.69. Wheat that was over $7.00 is now below $5.50. Soybeans that were over $15.00 are now fighting to hold $12.50. Grains are "attempting a bottom," in the words of one analyst, but still achieving "lower lows" in the words of another.

Combine that with international tension, like Russia refusing food imports, and the same bear market is hitting meat. Lean hogs for October delivery are down 20% in just the last month. Cattle for October were at $1.60/pound and are now at $1.47.

There are two sides to every story and food is no exception. Low futures prices mean cereal makers like Kelloggs (K) can lock-in profits. But that also means the product is under pricing pressure and the stock is down this summer. The same story is playing out among other food processors -- Kraft (KRFT) is down and so is Mondelez (MDLZ). Tyson Foods (TSN), which won the battle to buy out Hilshire Farms earlier this year, has also seen its stock fall.

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