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Price-competitive poultry faring well in economic slowdown

A recent report from RaboResearch says poultry demand could benefit if supply chain challenges can be managed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Christine McCracken is a senior protein analyst with RaboBank.

“A lot of people know how to cook chicken- it’s a very versatile and low-cost protein so it seems to be doing very well,” she says. “I think the same can be said for eggs and we’re pleased to see the improvement in demand.”

She tells Brownfield global trade will face more volatility this year, but poultry will have some opportunities.

“We’ve seen, even just this week, China, who has historically put up a lot of roadblocks to US exports, really open the doors to US exports even in the event of an outbreak of avian influenza,” she says. “That hasn’t historically been the case. They’ve been reluctant to recognize the international standard which is to regionalize those issues and prevent trade from specific regions. Now they’re saying they will accept international standards.”

McCracken says she’ll continue to monitor consumer buying patterns.  

“Will people trade down from some of these higher premium products that they’ve bought historically to more low-cost products that serve a broader need or can be prepared in different ways,” she says. “That’s a question we don’t have an answer to yet, but I would expect.”

The report says the biggest coronavirus-related issues will be potential shocks in supply and demand driven by quarantine and changes in consumer demand toward at-home consumption and non-perishable products. The report also says this has the potential to also impact global poultry markets and pricing.

Audio: Christine McCracken

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