Supplies of broilers and their products are lower than a year ago. Demand is growing and prices are rising.
The USDA is reporting high feed costs, increased demand, and changes in the supply chain have driven up prices for wholesale meats and poultry. Wholesale pork prices are now predicted to increase between 4.5 and 7.5 percent; and wholesale poultry prices are now predicted to increase between 5.0 and 8.0 percent. Egg prices are typically highly volatile and depend on the time of year; farm-level egg prices are currently predicted to increase between -1.5 and 1.5 percent.
According to the US Farmers Report, all sizes of boneless breast pricing increased this week. Analysts say demand for select and jumbo boneless breasts continues to increase, as national promotions and restaurant openings continue. This week pricing for small, medium and jumbo wings increased. Analysts predict these markets will be flat to higher in the near future, as demand increases due to tighter supply, low freezer inventories, labor issues and higher food service demand.
Poultry plants are also dealing with a labor shortage with one of the major poultry companies, Pilgrim's Pride, finding a different solution to the problem: robots. The company plans to spend $100 million over the next year to further automate operations, with the potential to reduce its necessary workforce by 5,600 positions
There's also the winter storm in Texas back in February, but it didn't just hit Texas. Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi were all affected. These are some of the nation's biggest states for poultry farms.
Those farmers dealt not only with extreme cold but also power outages, resulting in some big losses.
All of this adds up to a chicken shortage, and increased prices on chicken for all of us.