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Will Plant-Based Substitutes Push Cut Into Meat Jobs? -- Market Talk

16:06 ET - Impossible Foods aims to replace part or all of the conventional meat industry with plant-based versions that taste the same, but don't require raising and slaughtering animals by the tens of billions. CEO Patrick Brown acknowledges that if the company succeeds--admittedly a long ways off--that will mean changes for the 482,000 workers that staff US meat-processing plants, not to mention farmers and ranchers. While Brown sees many processing jobs as dangerous and low-paying, the company is looking at the potential for locating some of its future production plants in traditional ranching and farming strongholds. "Progress in this area is inevitable," he says. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Impossible Foods Won't Take Meat Money -- Market Talk

15:35 ET - Startups angling to replace conventional meat production have drawn investments from some of the world's biggest meat companies, like Cargill and Tyson Foods, as the meat sector aims to diversify. But Impossible Foods founder and CEO Patrick Brown says his company won't follow suit. "There's an inherent conflict of interest," he says, between established meatpackers and a company like his, which aims to replace the current system of farms, feedlots and slaughterhouses with plant-based alternatives. Impossible Foods is marketing its Impossible Burger, which uses a soy-derived compound called heme to replicate meat's taste and consistency. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Backyard Poultry Flocks Spur Record Salmonella Illnesses -- Market Talk

16:40 ET - A growing threat to American families comes from chickens and ducks in their own backyards. According to the CDC, 2017 saw the biggest number of salmonella infections tied to backyard poultry flocks on record. Over the course of the year, 1,120 cases of salmonella have been linked to contact with these flocks, which can carry salmonella on their droppings, bodies and eggs. Spread across 10 outbreaks and 48 states, 28% of salmonella illnesses occurred in children younger than five, nearly 30% of ill people were hospitalized and one person died. CDC says consumers' interest in knowing where their food comes from is fueling a rise in backyard flocks, and advises poultry-keepers to wash their hands often and not to snuggle or kiss live birds. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

Plant-Based Meat Makers Seek to Cut Prices -- Market Talk

15:47 ET - As plant-based meat maker Impossible Foods rolls out its burger patties in university and corporate cafeterias, CEO Patrick Brown says the company expects its ground beef replacement to in a few years match cow-derived versions in price, and eventually be cheaper. Brown says the main challenge lies in scaling up the company's production, and because it requires a fraction of the land, water and other resources to produce a pound of Impossible Burger, it's just a matter of time. "We're getting better" in terms of efficiency and taste, Brown says. "The cow isn't." (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Restaurants Raise Menu Prices with Caution -- Market Talk

11:55 ET - Restaurants are taking a cautious approach to raising menu prices next year as they grapple with a sluggish eating-out environment. Restaurant companies surveyed by Baird indicate that operators plan to keep next year's menu price increases in line with this year's despite rising labor and commodity costs. The projected price increases of 1.5% to 2% are just enough to offset commodity and labor inflation and "seemingly reflects a desire to keep prices low in order to protect same-store traffic trends amid a highly competitive industry environment," Baird says. Restaurants have struggled in the last year as the gap between grocery and restaurant prices have widened. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

Hog Futures Hit Eight-Week High

Hog futures rose to an eight-week high as meatpackers continued to drive up cash prices for slaughter-ready pigs.

Two slaughter houses that opened in Iowa and Michigan in September have added to national processing capacity, forcing packers to pay more in order to secure supply for their plants.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $37.00 - Oct 19

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today

are steady at $37.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $27.00, 400-450

pounds are at $27.00, 450-500 pounds are $27.00 and those over 500 pounds

are $29.00-$31.00.

The day's total run is estimated at 220 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Oct 19

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Oct 19 +$15.27 +$ 28.52

Oct 18 +$16.79 +$ 26.83

Oct 17 +$21.74 +$ 28.98

* Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production.

A positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of

production of the animals.

Beef-O-Meter

This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite

values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices.

Beef

For Today Choice 110.1

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 110.8

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday rose $2.31 per hundred pounds, to $199.57, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $1.67 per hundred pounds, to $190.76. The total load count was 149. Wholesale pork prices rose 79 cents, to $73.67 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 19, 2017 17:21 ET (21:21 GMT)