November 24, 2014
Whether you have ham on Thanksgiving or Christmas, it has never been more expensive than this year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ham prices are up nearly 14% from a year ago. If families stick with tradition, this year's holiday meal will be significantly more expensive.
The increase in the price of pork was fueled by a virus that significantly shrank the hog population. In an attempt to make up for the losses farmers have fed the pigs longer to make them larger. Heavier pigs yield more pork per animal, but it increases the size of their hind legs which may exceed the size to produce the 7-pound spiral-cut ham--the most popular cut for holiday meals.
With the reduced population size and oversized pigs the prices of the popular 7-pound cut should continue to increase. Half of the annual ham consumption in America occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. This holiday season may make continuing the tradition of ham slightly more difficult. However, with the falling prices at the gas pumps it may allow customers to spend more during the holiday season. All I know is that my grandfather, who loves ham, may be carrying a smaller bag of leftovers home from the Wade family get together.
Ethan Wade, Financial Advisor
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).