2019 WAS AN UNPRECEDENTED YEAR for protein markets around the world. Having said that, both the cattle and beef markets maneuvered through a tough cycle. Many unpredictable outside factors played a roll in affecting how beef and other protein markets performed this past year.
In just the past ten months, we have experienced a record number of cattle grading Choice and Prime (first half of 2019). Then, in the last four months, the opposite occurred, with a much lower grading of Choice and Prime cattle and beef. As a result, Prime Graded Beef rose to record high prices and have only recently started to recover to normal price levels.
Severe drought was followed by heavy rains and turned into a colder/wetter spring then the seasonal averages. This had a major effect on how our farmers plant crops which leads to big spikes in the price of corn and soybeans.
The good news is with all the heavy rains predominant throughout the country, the majority of the US is now out of drought conditions.
We endured a tit-for-tat regarding tariffs put in place on most US Agriculture products and our addition of other tariffs to some of our trading partners.
In global cattle-beef news, China experienced historic issues with their own Pork meat supplies which caused more reactions in the protein markets in the USA.
In the US, one of our major protein/beef suppliers suffered a devastating plant fire that shut down beef production and threw beef supplies into question, all while leading up to a busy Labor Day Celebration. All of this amounts to a bit of a roller coaster for just one year!
On a more positive note, through all the turbulence in the market, we at The Chefs’ Warehouse along with our constituent Meat Company partners have been able to supply and guide our customers through a very tough market cycle. Despite the challenges, we have sold more beef in 2019 than ever before and are proud to have also grown our own branded Allen Brothers Angus program throughout the nation!
Looking ahead through the rest of the year and into 2020, more new and innovative beef programs will be launching as we continue to build CW into the go-to beef supplier for all of the nation.
We are very fortunate, as we get to work hand-in-hand with some of America’s best farmers and meat companies in the USA. As I travel through the country visiting and meeting with top-quality farmers and suppliers, they are very happy with the way CW is representing their products in the market place for which they have worked very hard and offer with great pride. Even when I am not out on the farm with them, I still get updates to how things are going! These tight-knit relationships with our farmers are the cornerstone for our ability to offer our chefs the best beef under the sun.