Joe Schmit recently published a column in Cheese Market News discussing whether whey is becoming the new pork belly. Here’s an excerpt:
Prior to focusing on dairy markets, I spent a few years as a hog market analyst. Hog slaughters are driven by profitability and slaughters increase as the prices of the cuts increase. The hog cuts are priced independently based on demand. Hams could be up while shoulders are down. As long as the average price is up, the butchering will increase. However, there is one cut that can drive slaughters entirely on its own. If the pork belly price is high enough, farmers will be in the black even with lower priced pork chops and loins. Just as an inflated pork belly price leads to increased hog slaughters, I began to wonder if it was possible that premium whey prices could be enough to pull milk into processed cheese channels despite already burdensome cheese inventories.