What is in this article?:
- As U.S. eats less meat, market potential will hinge on exports
- Poultry sector expansion
- Meat export outlook
“In our domestic market, total meat consumption will increase as the population grows, but it’s going to be tough to see growth in per capita meat consumption," says John Anderson, deputy chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “I think there are a lot of consumer preference and cultural issues behind that — people just don’t eat meat like they once did," he said at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.
PHILLIP TURNER, from left, Leakesville, Miss.; Louis Breaux, Kiln, Miss.; and Pat and Juanita Byrd, Sandhill, Miss., were among those attending the annual meeting of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.
Poultry sector expansion
The poultry industry has been in expansion mode for most of 2013, Anderson says. “We’ve seen a fairly significant week-to-week increase in broiler egg sets. Seasonally, there’s a strong tendency starting at middle of year for egg sets to start dropping pretty dramatically, but this year they essentially stayed level through the summer. That’s pretty remarkable, and I think it’s indicative of the interest integrators have in getting some higher production.
“Broiler production has been consistently higher than last year, and over the last six weeks we’ve had a fairly substantial increase year-over-year in poultry production. This higher production is starting to put some pressure on price.”
A bright spot in the poultry market, he says, has been with boneless, skinless thighs. “These have been a huge success story for the poultry industry the last two years. Demand has grown quite a bit, compared to boneless, skinless breasts, which are at about the three-year average price. Wings, we’re actually below three-year average price.
“Boneless, skinless thighs are still adding a lot of value compared to three years ago.I see these featured a lot more in the supermarkets and I hear a lot more talk about recipes for them — a really hot product for the sector.”
In the poultry market overall, Anderson says, questions are arising as to whether production is overwhelming demand, if we’re going to have to contend with weakness. I don’t think that’s the case.
“I think what we’re seeing is that integrators have got to the point they’ve decided they have enough production coming on that they want to start trying to steal market share from their competitors. They’re getting pretty aggressive in their pricing. It’s not so much that demand is bad; it’s more that they’re trying to throw out some bargains, trying to increase their market share.
“When overall meat demand has been pretty good, when the economic numbers are starting to look quite a bit better, when we’ve got really strong growth of protein consumption in the developing world, it just doesn’t compute with me that we could be looking at a demand side problem with poultry.
“Rather, I think the integrators are really pulling out the stops, trying to move a lot of product now that they’ve got expansion going on, and trying to take market share from competitors and from competing meats. If you’re a grower, I think it’s a positive story.”