June 24, 2013
CHICAGOBusiness is booming in the U.S. chicken industry as production and prices rise, profits continually increase, feed costs decline and fast food restaurants promote chicken dishes. In addition, retail beef prices hit a record high this year, driving consumers to alternative meat options, such as chicken.
The retail price of a boneless chicken breast averaged $3.429 per pound in stores, while beef prices hit about $5.24 per pound, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Last year, chicken breasts averaged $3.123 per pound.
As reported by Reuters, analysts predict earnings at Tyson Foods, Inc., will increase to $2.11 per share this fiscal year from $1.58 in 2012; Sanderson Farms will more than double per share; and Pilgrim's Pride Corp. will experience a share increase of 70 cents from 2012. Tyson produces chicken, beef and pork, while Pilgrims and Sanderson only produce chicken.
USDA data also shows increased feed production and steadily decreasing prices, promising cheaper costs for companies in the chicken industry.
Fast food restaurants have also played a part in the chicken industry's recent success by pushing products like the chicken McWrap at McDonalds and the flatbread chicken sandwich at Wendy's. A wider range of chicken products encourages consumers to dig in and take part in the chicken craze.
For more information on consumers' perceptions, attitudes and behaviors regarding meat and poultry, as well as current meat consumption patterns, view the Food Product Design slide show "The Changing World of Meat."
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