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Chicken Consumption - How Much Will It Fall?

 

The daughters of one of my wifeís best friends now refuse to eat chicken, fearing bird flu. They know you donít get bird flu from cooked poultry, and in any case they know you donít get bird flu here in Australia. But better safe than sorry.

 

I suspect a lot of people around the world are starting to think like that. Are global chicken sales about to nosedive?

 

According to a poll from the Center for Consumer Freedom, nearly half of all Americans believe you can contract bird flu from eating chicken.

 

Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC in the US, is reportedly preparing a series of television commercials, designed to reassure consumers that chicken is safe. According to a CNN/Money report:

 

Yum Brands executives said it could expect a 10 to 20 percent drop in KFC's US sales based on its experience in China, according to the [Ad Age] article, which also cited a separate analyst saying poultry demand is slipping 20 to 40 percent in parts of Europe and Asia on bird flu fears.

 

A round-up by the Wall Street Journal (link freely available this week, but probably for subscribers only from next week) found that:

 

In Italy, sales of chicken meat by volume have dropped as much as 40% at some wholesale markets since the end of August, according to national poultry union UNA. In Belgium, home to about 2,800 poultry farms, poultry sales fell 25% between Oct. 17 and Monday, said Ann Truyen, secretary general of the Federation of Industrial Poultry Slaughterhouses in Belgium.

 

In Switzerland, the sale of poultry meat has fallen by about 20% since Friday at Coop Schweiz, a large, unlisted cooperative retail chain, a spokesman told Swiss radio. At Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund, another Swiss supermarket chain, the decline has been approximately 10%, according to a company spokesman.

 

The Islam Online website reports that in Russia the sale of halal poultry Ė and even of other meat products Ė is increasing, due to bird flu concerns. In South Korea, the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation has announced a nationwide poultry product promotional campaign in December, following a decline in poultry meat and egg sales. It seems poultry sales are down almost everywhere, from Peru to Lebanon.

 

Hereís a prediction: itís only going to get worse.

  

Martin Roth

November 10th, 2005