With the help of technology, modern breeding, nutrient management, feed conversion and improved animal husbandry practices, chicken producers in the U.S. have significantly reduced the use of water, farmland, electricity, greenhouse gas emissions, and other valuable natural resources.
In fact, producing the same amount of chicken today as 1965 has 50% less impact on the environment. Many factors have contributed to the reduced environmental impact of producing chicken, including:
- 75% fewer resources required in poultry production;
- 36% reduced impact of poultry production on greenhouse gas emissions;
- 72% decrease in farm land used in poultry production; and
- 58% decrease in water used in poultry production.
According to recent National Chicken Council (NCC) survey results, however, knowledge of the environmental impact of chicken among consumers is low. Only half of survey participants (51%) are moderately knowledgeable about chicken’s impact on the environment and the strides the industry has made.
To help bridge the gap, answer questions and address misperceptions, NCC is unveiling several new resources related to environmental sustainability, including videos, infographics, farmer testimonials, FAQs, social squares, blog posts and more.
“As sustainability in agriculture continues to be a hot topic among U.S. shoppers, we as an industry need to do a better job of telling our sustainability story, because it’s a great one,” said NCC President Mike Brown. “These resources related to broiler chicken production and its impact on the environment are key tools in helping the industry better communicate with consumers, customers and the media.
“The chicken industry is committed to environmentally sustainable production practices and continuous improvement to ensure a healthier planet,” Brown added. “I encourage consumers to eat responsibly – choose chicken.”
The same NCC survey showed when it comes to factors driving purchase decisions today, the environmental impact of chicken (34%) is statistically as important as animal welfare (37%). Half (49%) of survey participants indicated a willingness to eat more chicken if they learned it is more sustainable than other protein sources.
In the U.S., the consumption of chicken has grown more than 300% since 1960, while cutting its environmental footprint in half. At 94 pounds per person, chicken consumption in 2019 will be a record and the most of any animal protein.