Today in the USA
Chicken in demand
Chicken consumption sky high
The amount of chicken eaten in the US remains high, with more eaten in 2016 than that recorded in the previous two years. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans will eat a record 41.7 kilograms of chicken per person this year.
Research presented at the 2016 Chicken Marketing Summit revealed that 87% of consumers ate a chicken meal or snack bought from a supermarket, while 72% ate a chicken meal or snack from a food service establishment. While supermarket numbers increased 2.4% and are now at equal to those of 2015, food service establishment consumption shows a healthy 7.5% rise over the previous year.
"People are buying more chicken than last year and plan to buy more next year," said Tom Super of the National Chicken Council. "Chicken tops the list of protein being consumed most often per week. And while retail sales continue to be strong, the survey shows that more people are eating chicken away from home, which is good news for chicken producers, food service establishments and the overall economy."¡
Big demand for ' quality' meat
Arise in demand for its premium food products, including antibiotic-free quality meat, has led to Joyce Farms announce plans for another warehouse and chicken hatchery.
A new warehouse will be attached to its processing plant, developments that will make for a more vertically integrated and streamlined operation.
The company said it is moving back to traditional farming methods and deindustrialised meat processing.
Ron Joyce, CEO of Joyce Farms, said the company has seen growing demand over the last three years.
"We've seen increased demand for our pasture-raised, heritage products like our slow growing chickens, one of the slowest growing chickens in the US," he said.¡
Sales drop at Pilgrim's Pride
Major poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride has reported a decline in sales and a lower margin for the second quarter of the year. Sales for the corresponding period the year before fell by 1,2% to US$2.04 billion while operating income fell by almost US$142 million to US$236.6 million - a 37.5% drop year on year.
CEO, Bill Lovette, said following the announcement to enter into organic fresh chicken, the company intends launching "veg-fed" artisanal chicken sausages to better resonate with consumer preferences for more natural products.
"These products will be fully cooked and minimally processed using all natural and no artificial ingredients or nitrites," he said.¡
India worried over US imports
India's Poultry Federation has called on its government to impose a substantial customs duty on chicken imports from the US, saying producers faced closure and jobs would be lost if tariff barriers were not raised.
Eerily similar to South Africa's response to US imports, the Poultry Federation's president, Ramesh Chander, said the landed cost of US chicken legs is expected to be $2 per kilogram and sold at around $2.40 per kilogram - almost the same as locally produced items.
"We won't be able to compete with imported products on cost and can only survive if import volumes are limited," said Saguna Foods' Sarvana Perumal.¡