While a growing number of the world’s top poultry companies are diversifying with the production of plant-based proteins, Sanderson Farms will not be among them.
While speaking at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference on September 3, Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms was asked to share his thoughts on the growing trend of meat and poultry companies expanding into plant-based protein production, as well as the growing number of eating establishments to serve such foods.
After quipping, “I’ll going to try to be as polite as I can about this,” Sanderson followed by saying he respected the vegan perspective and companies that offer choices to consumers.
However, he said alternative proteins is not something the company he oversees is interested in producing.
“We will not engage in that,” said Sanderson. “We do fine doing chickens, and we can get better doing what we do, so I’m going to stick to that and do the best I can.”
Sanderson Farms is the third largest poultry company in the United States. According to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, the company processed 86.6 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis.
Among the leading animal companies to enter the plant-based protein market are Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Maple Leaf Foods, JBS, Cargill, Smithfield Foods, Marfrig Global Foods, OSI Group and Danish Crown.
Chicken sandwich battle
While speaking during the conference, Sanderson also addressed the seasonal demand trends for chicken. Typically, following the Labor Day weekend, most promotional activities are geared toward turkey and ham.
However, a recent social media feud between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A regarding who has the best chicken sandwich has generated a lot of interest in eating chicken. It has even reached the point to where Popeyes restaurants have ran out of chicken for its new sandwich.
“We are very pleased there is a mini chicken sandwich war going on, between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A. We hope that war expands, and other people get involved in it,” Sanderson said.