While the price of nearly everything else at the grocery store is going up, the price of chicken is going down.
In 2022, overall food price inflation reached nearly 10%. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) predicts all food prices will rise by nearly 8% during the year in its 2023 Food Price Outlook.
Poultry prices, on the other hand, fell at the end of the 2022 and are projected to fall in 2023. The ERS estimates wholesale poultry prices will decrease by about 7.5% this year. Competing proteins, the ERS said, will see some price relief but not as much: a 1.2% decline for beef and 1.6% for pork.
Help in hard times
This, provided grocers and retailers pass savings onto consumers, should bolster the already strong demand for chicken in the U.S. Moreover, it demonstrates the value chicken always presents as an affordable protein.
People need to eat and feed their families even if their dollar doesn’t go as far as it once did. Despite the price of the most popular cut – boneless, skinless breast meat – coming off a record high, chicken is cheaper.
In January 2023, according to the Federal Reserve’s Economic Data (FRED) shoppers in the U.S. paid about $4.30 per pound for breast meat. A pound of ground beef cost about $4.70 and a pound of bacon cost about $6.80. Just a few months prior in September 2022, breast meat exceeded $4.70 per pound, an all time high.
The USDA’s cost estimates should be accurate based on the current production capacity of the industry.
In March 2023, WATT PoultryUSA reported the top U.S. broiler companies are producing more than a billion pounds of ready-to-cook chicken every week and the industry is still expanding. More product always arriving on the market should keep the price low.