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Lower prices for milk, pork expected during holidays

Higher supplies and lower costs offsetting increased demand.

Lower prices for milk and pork mean consumers should expect holiday treats and meals to cost a little less this year, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert Dr. David Anderson said.

Anderson, an extension livestock economist in College Station, Texas, said items such as milk, butter, cheese, cream, hams, pork trimmings and bacon should all be priced lower than in 2015.

He said demand for milk and cream began surging in September, when manufacturers began processing products for consumption during November and December.

“Some prices have rebounded, and there is usually a surge in demand for the holidays,” he said. “I noticed eggnog was being put on shelves. So, all those seasonal and specialty products that use milk are driving demand.”

Anderson said there was increased demand already for some relatively new products like Greek yogurt and protein supplements. There has also been an increase in demand from consumers who are ditching products like margarine, which is made from vegetable oil, and returning to more traditional products like natural butter.

However, higher supplies and lower costs are offsetting increased demand, he said. On average, consumers will pay 4.6 cents less for a gallon of milk than they did a year ago.

Anderson said consumers may also notice lower prices for pork products as a result of lower feed prices and expanded production. The pork industry just had its largest hog slaughter on record in the U.S.

Bacon prices are 9% lower than last year, and pork trimmings are 18% lower, he said. Hams, which experience a surge in demand during the holidays, were priced only 1.6% lower than last year.

The demand for milk and pork peaks not only for consumers but also for businesses and retailers making seasonal items people want during the holidays.

“During the holidays, it’s not just the milk and pork that are consumed during holiday meals,” he said. “It’s also all the ingredients that those things represent -- the cream and cheese and bacon and sausage – the ingredients that go into making all those Thanksgiving and Christmas goodies.”

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