The October issue of Poultry International returns to our exclusive compilation of World’s Top Poultry Companies.

In this issue (view digital edition of this issue), you will find key data on the major players around the world. You can see, for example, what they produce and how much each year. World’s Top Poultry Companies, however, offers much more than this, and for the full version you will need to go to the online database.

We have redesigned the Top Companies online database, making it bigger and better; with more than 450 companies and growing. We’ve also simplified it, making it easier to search by region, country or company name. Individual company records contain details of area of activity, output, facilities and number of employees, along with overviews, addresses and website details.

More good news

Poultry is a sector that continues to grow and so, despite the political and economic turmoil of recent months, there is still some good news.

In the US, output of poultry meat increased last year, with 22 companies in the WATT PoultryUSA’s 2011 rankings reporting increases in ready-to-cook chicken production. Of the top 10 producers, eight posted increases in RTC chicken production on an average weekly basis in 2010. There are companies planning investment for the future, although some producers have cut back.

In Europe, the climate remains difficult. While Europe’s economies are either shrinking or growing sluggishly at best, consumers remain cautious about spending, and producers not only have to contend with this but also with competition from overseas. Despite this, Europe’s producers continue to adapt and innovate, and cope with an ever-heavier regulatory framework.

While Asian economies may be outperforming their European and North American counterparts, growth is now slowing in China. Despite higher growth rates than most, the trend is now weakening.


Latin America may offer some cheer, but Brazil in particular is hampered by a strong economy.

The picture is not all doom and gloom, however. In an industry that remains fragmented, there are still opportunities for the bold. In Europe, for example, where the top three poultry companies account for the less than 15% of the market, HKScan’s purchase of Rose Poultry creates a major new player in the Northern European market.

Consumption to continue rising

While almost all sectors may currently be facing difficulties, one thing is for sure, consumption of meat will continue to rise. The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook predicts that, over the years to 2020, meat production will increase by 1.8% per annum and that this increase will be driven by poultry and pig production. The growth in demand over the period will largely stem from Asia, Latin America and oil exporting countries.

World meat exports are forecast to rise. At 1.7% annually, the rate may be lower than we are accustomed to, but remains, nevertheless positive. Again, poultry is predicted to be one of the two driving forces behind this increase, meaning that there are opportunities ahead. This more sluggish growth has been attributed to Russia’s policy of import substitution.

But do not think that the road ahead will be problem-free the sector. Volatility in feed prices is set to continue over the decade and the industry will be forced to look increasingly at improving feed efficiency. Alongside this, patterns of trade are shifting, as is consumer preference. While the world as a whole may be demanding more poultry meat, what people want and how people want it is constantly changing, offering both opportunities and challenges. Additionally, increasing numbers of countries are tightening their environmental legislation, which again, could benefit those companies agile enough to react but could cause problems for those that do not.