Are Protein Costs Poised to Accelerate Over 2019-21

By Mark Kalinowski Published on May 10, 2019 at 12:00 AM

African Swine Fever (ASF) is spreading rapidly not only in China — where it seems as many hogs have been culled from herds in that country as there are born in the entire United States in any given year — but also in other parts of Asia, not to mention parts of Europe. Based on our conversations with suppliers to the restaurant industry, and also with privately-held restaurant companies, we believe that commodity-cost risks over the next 1-3 years from proteins may be higher than the Street currently anticipates. The sources of this are many, including: (1) uncertainty regarding just how massive the ASF issue is in China, (2) the time it will take to replenish swine supplies in China — the time from gestation to slaughter is typically more than 30 months, and (3) the not-zero possibility that ASF could make its way to the United States, although efforts are being made on multiple fronts to prevent that from happening. As many involved note, the situation regarding ASF remains fast-moving and difficult to quantify.

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