“Technology and social media developments are revolutionising the way we decide what we eat and where we eat,” said Deborah Perkins, managing director for Rabobank International, during her presentation at the Market Intelligence Forum at IPPE.
With the session sponsored by the US Poultry & Egg Association, Perkins talked about consumer demand drivers, how they were affecting consumer behaviour and the implications for the poultry sector.
Highlighting the markets in the US, India, China and Indonesia, Perkins said the US consumed four times the amount of chicken than the Chinese market. She also discussed generational behaviour, looking at the role played by both Baby Boomers and Millenials in society, and how both groups are important for industry to know and follow.
She also brought to the fore a new consumer group, “food evangelists,” who are “action-oriented toward brands, companies and food and are adept at getting their message conveyed using social media and other outlets”.
Consumers are much more aware of the food they eat, Perkins told delegates, and poultry was well positioned within that.
Domestic and global drivers for the year ahead were also discussed by Dr Paul Aho, an economist with Poultry Perspectives. He said: “Prices tend to go in cycles. There has been a great increase in corn and soybean in the last 10 years, but commodity prices are falling. They are now lower than last year.”
The price of deboned chicken breast meat per pound had dropped he said, but US per capita consumption was beginning to rise off the back of the recession. He predicted there would be falling beef and pork production in the year ahead, while poultry production would rise.
With the global economy expected to improve during 2014-18, he said energy and grain costs would fall, adding further impetus to the poultry sector: “2014 looks promising for chicken, turkey and eggs, especially regarding exports. Feed prices will likely be moderate in 2014–2018, the world and the US poultry production will increase, and chicken prices will be lower than last year, but profitable. The turkey and egg industries will also both be profitable.”