December 04, 2003



Egg Demand in US Expected To Rise Next Year

Creating a balance between production and demand is key for the success of the United States' poultry industry in 2004.


And the interest in high-protein diets may help demand for chicken, turkey and eggs for the year.


The US egg industry expects demand for eggs and egg consumption to increase next year, partly due to efforts by the American Egg Board in "positioning" eggs as part of a healthy diet.


Industry pundits, however, predict strong control of production, a previous problem for egg companies resulting in depressed egg prices.


Production has been kept in check recently in part because of an animal welfare program begun by the Alpharetta-based United Egg Producers.


The group, whose members represent the majority of egg production in the country, says the program has been very successful in cutting back on the number of eggs produced.


This is because of increased requirements for space for birds in layer cages. Fewer hens in a house means fewer eggs laid.


The chicken industry expects the continued trend of increased demand for further-processed chicken products in 2004.


Such products include ready-to-eat items like deli meats and ready-to-heat products like frozen chicken nuggets.


The National Chicken Council expects chicken to be marketed mostly as further processed products next year, at 47.5% of all chicken marketed.


Whole birds will account for 11.5% and cut-up or chicken parts will account for 41%.


Without question, further processed products are more expensive at the retail level and generate a bigger profit for poultry companies.


Chicken consumption next year is expected to continue growing, as the USDA expects each person in the country to eat an average of more than 80 pounds of chicken in 2004.


The consumption trend can be attributed partly to the occurrence of more convenience chicken products, like the further processed items, and the increase in competitive prices for meat, including beef.