The industry is feeling optimistic about increasing U.S. poultry exports, according to a recent survey.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, more than 80% of respondents to the WATT/Rennier Poultry Confidence Index said they expect chicken meat exports to rise in 2020.

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 fourth quarter survey conducted in November 2019. The next installment of Dr. Greg Rennier’s column reflecting the results of this survey will be published in the January issue of WATT PoultryUSA.

More exports expected

The year ended with the blockbuster news that U.S. exports to China would be restored after a 5-year-long ban supposedly based on fears of highly pathogenic avian influenza in America. China is dealing with a serious protein shortage because of African swine fever (ASF). Meanwhile, the U.S., Mexico and Canada are working on ratifying a new trade deal – the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) – to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Both developments could signal increased demand abroad for U.S. chicken in the year to come.

We asked, “Which statement best describes your expectations for total U.S. chicken meat exports in 2020?”

  • 51.9% responded, “Increase 1% to 9.9%.”                                             
  • 21.5% responded, “Increase by 10% to 14.9%.”
  • 13.9% responded, “Stay roughly the same.”
  • 8.9% responded, “Increase by 15% or more.”
  • 3.8% responded, “Decrease.”    

Is Chick-fil-A’s sandwich the best?

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen generated a lot of press this summer when it debuted a chicken sandwich that some said was better than Chick-fil-A’s famous sandwich. The product quickly ran out when it debuted in August 2019, but it returned in November 2019.

The debate continues over whether the chain built around its original chicken sandwich is selling the best sandwich on the market.

We asked, “In your opinion as a diner, does Chick-fil-A have the best fast-food chicken sandwich?”           

  • 41.3% responded, “Yes, the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich is the best.”
  • 21.3% responded, “No, there are better chicken sandwiches than Chick-fil-A.”    
  • 6.3% responded, “No, there are chicken sandwiches as good as Chick-fil-A.”         
  • 31.3% said they did not know.