Reuters  Oct 5  Comment 
BRF SA, the world's largest poultry producer, has made a binding offer to purchase a stake in Qatar National Import and Export Co's frozen food distribution unit, part of...
NPR  Oct 2  Comment 
Drawing from an experiment with chickens, entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan explains how our cultural obsession with individual success is threatening our potential for collaboration and productivity.
The Economic Times  Oct 2  Comment 
Broiler chicken producers in Maharashtra have been struggling to recover the cost of production as prices haven't improved even after Shravana has ended.
Yahoo  Oct 2  Comment 
LIVINGSTON, CALIF/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Residents of Livingston, California have sharply reduced their water usage during the state’s severe drought, now in its fourth year. Responsibility for the poor showing, city officials said, lies with...
MarketWatch  Oct 1  Comment 
Starbucks Corp. said it will start using 100% cage-free eggs within the next five years. "While there is still work to be done across the industry to increase supply to address market conditions, we are committed to working with our suppliers...
The Times of India  Sep 25  Comment 
In a unique initiative, poultry farming of Japanese quails has been initiated for the first time on an experimental basis in Rajasthan by an NGO.
USDA NASS  Sep 24  Comment 
Ready-to-Cook Weight Up 5 Percent from Last Year...
The Hindu Business Line  Sep 23  Comment 
The poultry industry needs to grow to a size of 8 million birds (chickens) and 680 million egg-laying hens by 2020 if the daily protein consumption in India had to come up 65 gm per head, which is...
USDA NASS  Sep 22  Comment 
August Egg Production Down 9 Percent. Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 18 Percent. Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 1 Percent...
Agriculture Online  Sep 22  Comment 
The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak of winter and spring 2015 was the worst animal disease outbreak in U.S. history, affecting more than 48.8 million turkeys and chickens in 21 states, and causing economy-wide losses of an...


The U.S. poultry market totaled $43 billion in chicken sales in 2007.[1] Chicken prices are highly dependent on chicken feed prices. In fact, feed costs make up 65% of the cost of raising a chicken.[2] Reliance on corn chicken feed (especially distiller's dry grain--see DDG under Ethanol Production) makes chicken prices susceptible to significant changes in corn prices.[3] Although the skyrocketing cost of corn has increased the cost of producing chicken by more than one-third in early 2008, large domestic supplies have left retail prices relatively unchanged .[4][5]

Error creating thumbnail

Who Benefits From Higher Chicken Prices?

  • Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) and Tyson Foods (TSN), examples of major public chicken protein processors (they hold 25% and 20% of US market share, respectively), benefit when chicken prices rise.[7]
  • Smaller, private chicken producers and processors, such as Perdue Farms with 8% of US market share and Wayne Farms with 5% of US market share, also benefit when chicken prices rise.[8]
  • Chicken feed and feed additive companies, such as Land O'Lakes, Inc. benefit from higher demand of chickens, which results in increased demand for their products.

Who Benefits From Lower Chicken Prices?

Trends and Forces

Increase in Feedstuff Prices Increases the Price of Chicken

Chicken prices are heavily dependent on favorable pricing of feedstuffs, such as corn prices and soybeans, as feed makes up the majority of the cost of raising poultry. Corn prices have risen sharply since the beginning of 2007 - more than 150% in 2007 and early 2008 - as ethanol producers have increased their demand for the commodity (rising oil prices, in turn, have increased demand for ethanol).[9] Corn is also the main input for many other food products such as high fructose corn syrup that are in increasing worldwide demand - but nonetheless the USDA expects U.S. farmers to plant 8% less corn in 2008, lowering supply and increasing prices.[10] Additionally, the June 2008 flooding of Iowa is expected to destroy more than 200 million bushels of corn, further reducing supply.[11] Any long-term, significant increase in feedstuffs prices has the potential to seriously increase chicken prices.

Constantly Changing Global Supply and Demand Cause Prices to Fluctuate

Though chicken prices are mostly responsive to input feed prices, they are also affected by international competition, high domestic production, seasonal fluctuations, and fear of avian bird flu. Though only 16% of total domestic production was exported in 2007, international competition can drive chicken prices up or down.[12] Strong export markets have been the main drivers of the poultry industry's growth, so a global surplus has an adverse effect on domestic producers.[13] Global surpluses can be exacerbated by domestic surpluses, the shortest of which can cause long lasting price swings.[14] Next, seasonal hatchings create a variable supply of chickens which in turn cause prices to fluctuate. Finally, fears of avian flu decrease chicken demand, and therefore chicken prices, as consumers react to outbreaks of the disease and substitute other protein sources, such as pork or beef, for chicken.[15]

Chicken Producers Hope to Transition to Prepared Foods

Chicken producers are transitioning to prepared foods, such as breaded chicken strips, buffalo wings, and chicken nuggets. These products carry a higher margin than fresh chicken, because they are sold one step closer to the consumer on the supply chain - to stores, rather than to butchers who then mark up the meat once again before selling to stores. Furthermore, for companies such as Pilgrim's Pride (PPC), prepared meats decrease feed costs from 33-49% of total production cost to 17-24% of total cost.[16] Rising commodity prices factor into the price that consumers must pay for their chicken, but these input costs cannot be passed on in their entirety. By eliminating an extra step in the sales process, chicken producers can pass a higher percentage of production costs onto the consumer as well.

Chicken Industry Information and Market Share

Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) is the largest producer of US chicken with 25% of the US market.

Tyson Foods (TSN) is the second largest producer of US chicken with 20% of the US market.

Perdue Farms is the third largest producer of US chicken with 8% of the US market.

Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms (SAFM) are tied as the fourth largest producers of US chicken with 5% apiece of the US Market.

Note: Market share data from Pilgrim's Pride Corporate Fact Sheet


  1. US Economic Research Service, "U.S. Broiler Industry: Background Statistics and Information"
  2. The Sacramento Bee, "Midwest flooding will raise corn prices, soak food buyers"
  3. US Economic Research Service, "Corn Prices Near Record High, But What About Food Costs?"
  4. The Sacramento Bee, "Midwest flooding will raise corn prices, soak food buyers"
  5., "Cold Storage Report Highlights"
  6. US Economic Research Service, "U.S. Broiler Industry: Background Statistics and Information"
  7. Pilgrim's Pride Corporate Fact Sheet
  8. Pilgrim's Pride Corporate Fact Sheet
  9. National Corn Growers Association Futures Quotes
  10. Associated Press, "USDA Bets on Soy, but Farmers Like Corn"
  11. Reuters, "How much crop acreage lost to floods?"
  12. US Economic Research Service, "U.S. Broiler Industry: Background Statistics and Information"
  13. Charleston Regional Business Journal, "Chicken prices: Gradually coming back to Earth"
  14., "Challenges and opportunities for marketing of poultry products"
  15. US Department of Agriculture, "Meat and Poultry Prices Rise"
  16. PPC 2007 10-K, Item 1, pg.5
  17. Pilgrim's Pride Corporate Fact Sheet
Wikinvest © 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. Use of this site is subject to express Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Disclaimer. By continuing past this page, you agree to abide by these terms. Any information provided by Wikinvest, including but not limited to company data, competitors, business analysis, market share, sales revenues and other operating metrics, earnings call analysis, conference call transcripts, industry information, or price targets should not be construed as research, trading tips or recommendations, or investment advice and is provided with no warrants as to its accuracy. Stock market data, including US and International equity symbols, stock quotes, share prices, earnings ratios, and other fundamental data is provided by data partners. Stock market quotes delayed at least 15 minutes for NASDAQ, 20 mins for NYSE and AMEX. Market data by Xignite. See data providers for more details. Company names, products, services and branding cited herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The use of trademarks or service marks of another is not a representation that the other is affiliated with, sponsors, is sponsored by, endorses, or is endorsed by Wikinvest.
Powered by MediaWiki