The chicken industry dealt with some near-term headwinds because of the COVID-19 pandemic but otherwise faces several long-term opportunities going forward.

“When I think back to all the disruption over the past year and think about how that might affect our markets going forward – not just here in the U.S., but around the world – there’s a lot of competing dynamics,” Christine McCracken, executive director, protein analyst, Rabobank, said at the 2021 Chicken Marketing Summit.

McCracken predicts that the supply chain impacts of COVID-19 will be widespread, affecting everything from chicken production and processing to distribution to consumer-facing industries like retail and foodservice.

“I’m feeling pretty positive,” she added. “The poultry industry has emerged from one of the most devastating disruptions in the history of our industry and we know more about our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, which should give us a little more staying power in the long run.”

Strong consumer demand

Consumers clamored for chicken during the pandemic. Sales of chicken sandwiches continued to soar and the protein was sought after when consumers filled pandemic pantries.

“The good news is that poultry demand is outstanding. Retail and foodservice industries have bounced back here in the U.S. and around the world,” McCracken explained. The industry must now figure out how to control rising costs caused primarily by labor shortages and freight and shipping challenges.


Changing consumer dynamics post-pandemic

Chicken brands must now figure out how they will react to these pain points to succeed.

“How do they shift to meet new consumer trends?” McCracken asked. “And perhaps, most importantly, how do they respond to this shrinking labor shortage and make changes that give them the potential to grow their business going forward?”

Chicken is well-positioned for future challenges

Successful chicken companies will keep their eye on the future and look to expand – whether in new products, brands, geographies or something else, McCracken said. 

“Not only are they making these offensive moves, but they’re also considering what they need to do defensively to remain competitive given all the new anti-meat agenda or competition from alternative proteins,” she explained. 

Attend the 2022 Chicken Marketing Summit

The 2022 Chicken Marketing Summit will be held at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia on July 24-26. Serving a unique cross section of the chicken supply chain, the Chicken Marketing Summit explores issues and trends in food marketing and consumer chicken consumption patterns and purchasing behavior.
For more information and to attend, visit:

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