A majority of chicken producers have customers that are currently using, or planning on adopting, the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) animal standards, according to a new survey.

In the third quarter of 2019, nearly 70% of respondents to the WATT/Rennier Poultry Confidence Index survey said they are working with customers who are subscribing to the third-party animal welfare standards.

As part of the quarterly survey, WATT Global Media is asking additional questions about the state of the poultry industry as well as emerging trends, technologies and challenges. This blog post reflects the results of supplemental questions included in the third quarter survey conducted in August 2019. The next installment of Dr. Greg Rennier’s column reflecting the results of this survey were published in the October issue of WATT PoultryUSA

Global Animal Partnership commitments

Commitments to third party animal welfare systems is rising in popularity among foodservice companies and retailers. Many are committing to a standard set by the Global Animal Partnership, a third-party, non-profit welfare standards organization which is closely associated with Whole Foods Market.

All meat sold at the high-end grocer must be certified by GAP. The standards are tiered. The lowest rung, Step 1, calling for what it calls no crates, no cages and no crowding. The highest, Step 5+, calling for pasture raised animals who are born and slaughtered on the same farm.

We asked, “Are any of your customers currently using GAP standards or planning on adopting GAP?”

  • 69.7% responded, “Yes.”
  • 30.3% responded, “No.”

African swine fever

The outbreak of African swine fever in China and Southeast Asia continues to escalate and the disease will likely define the protein market for years to come. 

We asked, “How do you expect ASF to affect chicken prices in 2019?”

  • 45.0% responded, “I expect prices to increase by the end of 2019.”
  • 26.3% responded, “I expect prices will not change by the end of 2019, but will increase in 2020 and beyond.”
  • 20.0% responded, “I expect prices will not change by the end of 2019.”
  • 3.8% responded, “I expect prices to decrease by the end of 2019.”
  • 3.8% responded, “I expect prices will not change by the end of 2019, nor will they change in the future.”
  • 1.3% responded, “I expect prices will not change by the end of 2019, but will decrease in 2020 and beyond.”

Boosting U.S. production

A slew of poultry processing plants are opening in the U.S. in 2019 and in the near future. This is expected to boost overall chicken production by 10%.

We asked, “Which statement most accurately reflects your opinion?”

  • 37.0% responded, “This is a positive development for me and my business.”
  • 37.0% responded, “This development will not impact me and my business.”
  • 25.9% responded, “This is a negative development for me and my business.”