Poultry could have edge over other proteins in late 2020

The poultry industry could be better positioned to perform well during the final three months of 2020 than the beef and pork industries, said Will Sawyer, lead animal protein analyst with CoBank.

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Poultry products could benefit from the trend of increased drive-through restaurant sales, CoBank's Will Sawyer says. (Willard Losinger | Bigstock)
Poultry products could benefit from the trend of increased drive-through restaurant sales, CoBank's Will Sawyer says. (Willard Losinger | Bigstock)

The poultry industry could be better positioned to perform well during the final three months of 2020 than the beef and pork industries, said Will Sawyer, lead animal protein analyst with CoBank.

Sawyer spoke of poultry’s potential advantages while speaking September 28 during the Delmarva Poultry Industry (DPI) 55th National Meeting on Poultry Health, Processing, and Live Production. The meeting is being held virtually in 2020.

“I do think that there are opportunities for poultry to be put into a better position than some of the red meats,” said Sawyer.

He said a concern CoBank has had for the beef sector is that its sales at the foodservice level are “geared to a high price point,” and are also “very geared to indoors.”

Under ordinary circumstances, the fourth quarter of the year is “an inside dining opportunity.” But with in-restaurant dining reduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic, dine-in meals are being replaced with drive-through meals.

“I think a lot of foodservice for poultry does very well through the drive-through window,” said Sawyer. “I think poultry, of the three major proteins, will do much better.”

Earlier this year, Sawyer also spoke of advantages poultry had over beef during the pandemic. However, the main reasons he gave differed somewhat from when he addressed the matter in June during the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting.

During the USAPEEC event, Sawyer said Survey data showed that younger consumers – especially those in Generation Z – feel much more comfortable about eating out than people of older generations do.

So, Sawyer rationalized: “When we think about restaurant concepts and restaurant formats that I think will survive and maybe even thrive through COVID-19, it’s those concepts that are very geared to the younger generations. Unfortunately, those concepts that are more traditional, more sit-down … in most cases in the dining experience are really going to struggle and I think be in far fewer supply going forward.”

This will be rough on the beef industry, Sawyer added, as steakhouses and other restaurant styles that have a more beef-heavy menu, look poised to struggle.

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