Protein is likely to continue taking a more prominent role in people's diets, Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods, told investors May 21 at the annual BMO Capital Markets 2014 Farm to Market Conference.

"We see opportunities for innovation to put protein in more affordable, convenient forms," Smith said. "We'll go where the consumer takes us, and we have the capability and flexibility to meet changing consumer needs and expectations."

Steve Stouffer, Tyson Foods’ president of fresh meats, said protein supplies will remain tight through the summer grilling season as a result of constrained chicken breeding stock, a virus in the hog population and drought that has reduced grazing pasture for cattle. "The beef and pork supply and price dynamic this year and into 2015 are expected to drive more consumers to the relative value of chicken."