Easter dinner might cost a little bit more this year. It’s not just the candy. Ham, the prize of the dinnerplate, is also on the uptick, thanks to a surge of demand from China and other export markets.
Retail prices for boneless hams in March hit $4.31 per pound, the highest since March 2015, according to USDA data. That is noticeably higher than hams prices in 2018, which Statista averages to $3.88 per pound.
It might seem like a small part of the $18.1-billion Easter-related spending that is forecasted for 2019. But USDA said the 7.6% monthly price spike in hams from February to March 2019 was the biggest in at least 12 years.
Why the uptick in ham demand?
Increased demand for bellies, loins and hams from China as well as the seasonal increase ahead of the Easter holiday.
Still, sales aren’t lagging, says Jo Ann Herold, chief marketing officer at Honey Baked Ham Co. “With the later Easter, it’s been longer since they’ve been with family and friends for a holiday occasion," she said. "People want to celebrate.”