Consumers aren’t eating as much pork and the trend doesn’t look to change anytime soon. Demand for pork at the consumer level for January-April was down 6.2 percent from 12 months earlier based on preliminary data, according to Glenn Grimes, agricultural economist, University of Missouri.

Although product demand is down, live hog demand still looks a bit more promising. For January-April, demand for live hogs shows a loss of only 2.9 percent. “We say only because the industry enjoyed 15.2 percent growth in these four months of 2004 and 2005,” notes Grimes.

He expects the industry to lose around 50 percent of the demand growth of 2004 and 2005 because the high protein diet fad has faded. The loss for these four months is less than 20 percent of the gains in 2004 and 2005.

On the bright side, pork exports so far in 2006 makes up about two thirds of the difference in loss of pork demand at the consumer level and loss at the live level for hogs.