The indexes for three of the six major grocery store food groups declined in March, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs decreased 0.9%, the fifth straight monthly decline, as the index for eggs fell 4.6%.
The total U.S. meat production forecast for 2009 is lower in April as a slight increase in beef output is more than offset by lower pork and poultry production in March, according to the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.
The broiler production forecast was lowered as hatchery data point to continued reductions in eggs set and chicks placed. Hatchery supply flocks are below last year, implying little prospect for recovery until later in the year. The turkey production forecast is also lower as there are no indications that flocks will expand before mid-year.
The total egg production forecast is reduced due to lower expected first-quarter table egg production, and lower forecast hatching egg production, which reflects reduced forecasts for broilers.
Export forecasts for 2009 for major meats lowered slightly, including beef and turkey, but broiler exports are expected to remain unchanged.