Chicken consumption grows, but faces competition!

Canadian chicken consumption is projected to continue growing over the next 10 years. Over the last several years, the retail price relationship between beef, pork and chicken favoured chicken, making it an attractive and competitive protein choice for consumers. But is the price outlook changing and to what extent could this influence consumers’ decisions?

Price could influence consumer behaviour

According to AAFC’s 2016 Canadian Agriculture Outlook retail prices for chicken, beef and pork are projected in different directions over the next decade.

Beef prices are expected to decline at an average annual rate of 1.6%. Retail pricing patterns are influenced by farm prices. Cattle prices will trend lower through 2020 but remain above historical averages. Retail pork prices are estimated to remain relatively flat over the next decade.

In comparison, the retail price of chicken is expected to increase the most of the three meats at an average annual rate of 1.7%.  

Despite the slight increase in chicken prices over the next decade, demand is expected to continue growing. Canadian per capita chicken consumption is expected to increase 6.2% by 2025 over the consumption average of the last five years. Compare this to other proteins like beef and pork, where consumption is expected to decline by 6% and 16% respectively over the same time period. 

So despite pork and beef proteins projected to be attractively priced, consumption of chicken is expected to climb and follow an upward trend.

Production will match the upward trend in consumption

In order to meet the growing demand, Canadian chicken production is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.2% over the next decade for a total increase of 22% over the current five-year average.

The economic environment is changing and the outlook is positive

This increase in production is expected to occur while the industry faces more potential competition from foreign suppliers, and while production methods evolve in the way birds are raised. Increased competition from other meat proteins coupled with imports and new production codes of practice could change the business environment. Resilience in the industry will help to drive a rather promising outlook for the poultry sector. Reviewing business plans and making strategic investments today will position producers for success over the next decade.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) 2016 Canadian Agricultural Outlook provides a current look and 10-year forecast of farm income and long-term trends that could impact the agricultural sector. The Ag Economist team continues to examine the agriculture outlooks and in this post Leigh Anderson examines the poultry sector.