Mid-size chicken producers gain market share in 2014

WATTPoultryUSA’s top poultry company rankings show mid-size U.S. broiler companiesincreased chicken production the most in 2014.

Thornton 90x90 Headshot Headshot
Cobb | Mid-size chicken producers saw the most gain in market share over the past decade.
Cobb | Mid-size chicken producers saw the most gain in market share over the past decade. 

Broiler chicken companies in the U.S. increased production in 2014, as lower grain prices continued to result in lower feed costs making for a profitable year. You might say broiler chicken producers pressed the production pedal in 2014.

The largest U.S. broiler chicken producer, Tyson Foods, increased ready-to-cook (RTC) chicken output by 4.9 percent in 2014, according to WATT PoultryUSA’s top broiler company rankings. Tyson Foods reported RTC chicken production of 176.31 million pounds weekly, an increase of 8.31 million pounds from 2013.

Top five U.S. chicken producers

Tyson Foods’ closest competitors in WATT PoultryUSA’s rankings of 2014 production reported more modest increases in RTC chicken production:

Pilgrim’s, ranked No. 2 in the broiler survey, reported RTC chicken production of 138.36 million pounds weekly in 2014, an increase of 0.03 million pounds, or less than a percentage point.

No. 3 ranked Sanderson Farms  produced 58.80 million pounds of chicken weekly, an increase of 0.33 million pounds or 0.6 percent.

Perdue Farms, ranked No. 4, produced 56.49 million pounds of chicken weekly, an increase of 0.29 million pounds or 0.5 percent.

Koch Foods, ranked No. 5, reported producing 48.00 million pounds of chicken weekly, no change from the previous year.

Chicken production accelerates in rest of top 10

Rounding out the top 10 chicken producers in WATT PoultryUSA’s rankings are the following companies, all but one of which reported increases in RTC chicken production:

Wayne Farms, the sixth largest broiler company, produced 45.39 million pounds of RTC chicken weekly in 2014, an increase of 2.50 million pounds or 5.8 percent.

No. 7 ranked Mountaire Farms  produced 43.75 million pounds of RTC chicken weekly in 2014, an increase of 2.71 million pounds or 6.6 percent.

House of Raeford Farms, ranked No. 8, reported the largest increase in chicken production among the top 10 broiler companies. The company raised RTC chicken production by 2.96 million pounds weekly, or 12.6 percent, to 26.44 million pounds.

Peco Foods, ranked No. 9, produced 24.08 million pounds of RTC chicken weekly, an increase of 0.15 million pounds or 0.6 percent.

George’s Inc.  (tied at No. 10) produced 20.13 million pounds of RTC chicken weekly, an increase of 0.57 million pounds or 2.9 percent.

Foster Farms  (tied at No. 10) produced 20.13 million pounds of RTC chicken weekly, a decrease of 0.90 million pounds or 4.3 percent.

Mid-size chicken producers report higher rates of increase

WATT PoultryUSA’s broiler rankings show 22 of the 34 chicken producers with increases in chicken production in 2014. However, broiler companies ranking below No. 5 reported overall higher increases in RTC chicken production on a percentage basis in 2014 than the very largest U.S. chicken producers.

Following is a list of the seven broiler companies (in addition to No. 7 Mountaire Farms and No. 8 House of Raeford shown above) that reported percentage increases in RTC chicken production greater than 5 percent:

Keystone Foods, ranked No. 12, reported RTC chicken production of 19.60 million pounds weekly, an increase of 1.20 million pounds or 6.5 percent.

Case Foods, ranked No. 13, reported RTC chicken production of 17.86 million pounds weekly, an increase of 1.13 million pounds or 6.8 percent.

Amick Farms, ranked No. 14, reported RTC chicken production of 16.80 million pounds weekly, an increase of 1.30 million pounds or 8.4 percent.

Fieldale Farms, ranked No. 15, reported RTC chicken production of 15.00 million pounds weekly, an increase of 2.00 million pounds or 15.4 percent.

GNP Company, ranked No. 19, reported RTC chicken production of 8.45 million pounds weekly, an increase of 0.43 million pounds or 5.4 percent.

Allen Harim Foods, ranked No. 21, reported RTC chicken production of 5.96 million pounds weekly, an increase of 0.76 million pounds or 14.6 percent. 

Hain Pure Protein, ranked No. 30, reported RTC chicken production of 1.00 million pounds weekly, an increase of 0.05 million pounds or 5.3 percent.

Chicken production increases from heavier bird weights

While U.S. broiler companies achieved higher RTC chicken production in 2014 by a combination of increases in the number of chickens slaughtered and growing birds to heavier weights, with the greater focus on increasing bird weights.

Fourteen of the 22 broiler firms that increased RTC chicken production reported increases in the number of head slaughtered. Seven of the 22 companies reporting increases in RTC chicken production, however, reduced the number of birds slaughtered in their processing plants.

By comparison, 19 of the 22 broiler companies that increased RTC chicken production increased the weights of the birds slaughtered. Only three of the 22 broiler producers that reported increased RTC chicken production decreased the average weight of the birds slaughtered. One of the 22 companies that increased RTC chicken production reported no change in the average weight of broilers slaughtered.

Notable acquisitions, expansions by chicken producers

Tyson Foods  completed a merger in 2014 with The Hillshire Brands Company (Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, State Fair, Ball Park and Sara Lee brands among others. This puts Tyson deeper into consumer branded foods and also in turkey production.

Planned for 2015 is $110 million expansion/conversion of the Tyson Foods chicken processing plant in Vienna, Georgia, from the production of foodservice chicken to fresh tray pack chicken for the retail market.

Mar-Jac Holdings, the owner of Mar-Jac Poultry Inc. (Georgia operations) acquired Marshall Durbin Companies in 2014. The acquisition is operated as a separate company, Mar-Jac Poultry LLC (Alabama and Mississippi operations).

Ozark Mountain Poultry  (OMP Foods), which acquired integrated broiler operations in Batesville, Arkansas, from Pilgrim’s in late 2013, produced 2.70 million RTC pounds of chicken in 2014.

Hain Celestial Group in 2014 acquired the remaining 51.3 percent of Hain Pure Protein Corporation  that it did not already own from an affiliate of Pegasus Capital Advisors.

Eberly Poultry, ranked No. 35 in WATT PoultryUSA’s rankings of 2013 production, ceased operations in 2014.

Page 1 of 1580
Next Page