Retail Grocery Continues To Dominate Chicken Marketing

Retail grocery stores maintained their position as the biggest outlet for chicken products through the year 2001, according to a survey by the National Chicken Council.

Retail grocery stores received 41 percent of the chicken and chicken products shipped by processors and distributors, while restaurants accounted for 29 percent, the survey showed. Other major destinations included exports at 16 percent of total shipments; pet food, rendering and other purposes at 11 percent; government at two percent; and institutional sales at one percent.

In terms of the food market in the United States (deducting exports, pet food and rendering), retail grocery stores sell 57 percent of the chicken sold, while restaurants sell 40 percent. Governments and institutions handled three percent. Fast-food establishments account for 60 percent of the restaurant category, or 24 percent of all the chicken sold in the domestic food market.

“Grocery stores continue to move huge amounts of chicken,” said William P. Roenigk, NCC senior vice president and chief economist. “Americans are buying almost 81 pounds of chicken per person per year. By our calculations, they are buying roughly 46 pounds per person in grocery stores and 33 pounds in restaurants and other retail foodservice settings, on a product weight basis.”

Exports of chicken hit a high of about 18 percent in 1999 and slipped slightly to 16 percent in 2001, the survey showed. (The survey was taken before the Russian embargo of 2002 further depressed exports.)

Ice-pack is the most prevalent form in which chicken is shipped, with 37 percent of chicken sent to market on ice. Pre-packaged fresh chicken, normally placed on foam trays and wrapped in plastic, accounted for 18 percent of marketings in 2001. Other forms include frozen prepared products, frozen unprepared products, and sausages.

Survey results were developed from data received from chicken processors, distributors, independent further processors, and trader/brokers. Chicken companies producing 84 percent of total chicken production in 2001 participated in the latest survey. Agrimetrics Associates compiled the data tables and charts in the survey report. Copies of the survey report are available to NCC member companies upon request and are available to others for $100 per copy.

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