Over the past few years, production has been steadily increasing in the poultry industry as consumers purchase more broilers, eggs, and processed poultry products. Shoppers are also looking for more transparency and sustainable options from meat producers. As the top agricultural sector in the U.S., the poultry industry is in a unique position to set a precedent for adopting these best practices.
Read on to learn more about trends and statistics shaping the poultry industry.
Top 10 Poultry Industry Statistics
Here are the latest statistics for the poultry industry:
- With 48 billion pounds of meat produced, the poultry industry is the top agricultural industry in the U.S.
- The poultry industry is currently worth $310 billion.
- Production has been increasing by 6% a year on average.
- Americans are eating 113 lbs. of poultry per capita annually.
- Production will soon reach 1.034 billion metric tons.
- The industry is recovering from the pandemic. In 2020, production dropped by 11%.
- More businesses are entering this industry, with an increase of 5.6% in egg businesses.
- The current poultry inventory includes 512 million chickens.
- The U.S. exports 15.8% of its broiler production.
- There are more than 2 million jobs in the poultry industry.
Poultry Industry Statistics
These poultry industry statistics reflect current trends and provide insights into what the future has in store for the industry.
The Largest Agricultural Segment
As a whole, the agricultural industry contributes to 5.4% of the country’s GDP. Within the agricultural sector, poultry is the largest industry, with 48 billion pounds of meat produced annually out of a total of 52 billion pounds of meat produced. It represents around 92% of the total production of the meat sector.
How Much Is the Poultry Industry Worth?
In 2020, the poultry industry was worth a total of $310 billion. Experts predict it will grow and reach $422 billion by 2025, which represents an impressive CAGR of 7%.
A Steady Increase
From 2017 to 2022, poultry industry statistics show an average annual increase of 6% in chicken and turkey production.
Even though consumers are increasingly exploring meat alternatives, poultry remains an affordable choice.
People Are Eating More Chicken
In 2021, Americans ate an average of 113 lbs. of poultry per capita. Red meat remains a popular choice with 111.50 lbs. per capita, but historical data shows a clear shift in favor of poultry due to health and price considerations.
In 2000, the average American ate 95 lbs. of poultry for 120 lbs. of red meat.
A Higher Production Volume
Poultry farmers are responding to the steady increase in demand by ramping up production. On a global scale, the poultry industry will produce over 1.034 billion metric tons, a number that is slightly higher than the 1.02 metric tons produced in 2022. Compared to 2012, global production is up by almost 25 percentage points.
The Pandemic Changed Things
Compared to 2019, 2020 saw production drop by 11% on average. Between broilers, eggs, and turkeys, the poultry industry produced $35.5 billion compared to $40 billion the previous year.
However, this drop in production didn’t affect every segment of the poultry industry equally. While chicken production dropped by 50%, turkey production went up by 20%, and egg production increased by 18%.
The average number of businesses in the poultry industry is increasing. Between 2022 and 2023, the number of businesses involved in the production of chicken eggs increased by 5.6%. States like Iowa, Ohio, and Indiana continue to have the most businesses in this segment of the poultry industry.
A Large Inventory
How many meat birds are in the U.S.? The current inventory is 512 million chickens and 216 million turkeys. Ducks are next, with a population of 31 million.
The U.S. Is a Top Exporter of Poultry
Exports represent 15.8% of broiler production. Most exports go to Canada, Mexico, and Cuba. This percentage can seem low, but the U.S. is one of the largest exporters of poultry products in volume.
Employment in the Poultry Industry
As the top agricultural sector, it’s no surprise that the poultry industry employs over 2 million people. With a total of $125 billion paid in wages, this industry makes a strong contribution to the economy.
Egg Consumption Remains Constant
Americans consumed an average of 280 eggs per person in 2021. This number is slightly lower compared to 2019, when consumption was at 286 eggs per person.
However, data shows a clear increase in egg consumption compared to 2010, when Americans ate 250 eggs per person.
Large Companies Are Dominating the Industry
There are around 25,000 family farms that produce chickens, turkeys, broilers, and eggs for the poultry industry.
However, nearly all these businesses have contracts with one of the 30 major companies that dominate the industry.
Wholesale and Retail Prices
Prices are a compelling argument for buying poultry instead of red meat. In 2022, the wholesale price of poultry was $1.065 for broilers compared to $1.92 for pork and $3.48 for beef.
Retail prices were approximately $2.42 for broilers, $4.89 for pork, and $7.58 for beef.
Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas Are the Top Producers
In 2022, Georgia produced an impressive 1.3 billion broilers. Alabama is next with 1.2 billion, and Arkansas businesses produced around 1 billion. North Carolina is also one of the top states for broiler production, with just under a billion units.
Chicken Fast Food Franchises
While retail stores account for 55% of broiler consumption, fast food makes up the remaining 45% with popular menu items like chicken sandwiches and nuggets.
How Much Do Chickens Eat?
Raising broilers is more effective than ever. On average, farmers obtained one pound of broiler per 1.77 lbs. of feed in 2022. It’s a significant improvement compared to 1960, when broilers would yield one pound of meat for 2.5 lbs. of feed.
The mortality rate is also down from 18% in 29125 to 5.3% in 2022, and it only takes 47 days to raise a broiler, which is six days faster than in 1980.
The U.S. Produces More Poultry Than Any Other Country
The U.S. is the top producer of poultry meat in the world. While a majority of the consumption is national, the U.S. remains the second largest exporter of poultry products in the world.
Tyson is the largest company in the poultry industry. This brand sold $16.9 billion worth of poultry products in 2022. This number shows a significant increase from $13.7 billion sold in 2021.
The U.S., Brazil, and China Are the Top Producers
The U.S. is the country that produces the most poultry products, followed by Brazil with 15,000 metric tons and China with 14,000 metric tons.
Turkey Production Is Increasing
Did you know that 88% of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving? With the holidays driving the demand, turkey farmers have increased turkey production by 104% since 1970.
A Deadly Virus
The most recent strain of the avian influenza virus is a threat to the poultry industry, with a mortality rate of 90 to 100%. It can take as little as 48 hours for birds to die from it.
Avian Influenza and Eggs
Due to avian influenza, egg inventory dropped by 30% toward the end of 2022. This limited inventory resulted in a price hike of 267% for eggs during the holiday season.
A Shift in Duck Inventory
The current duck inventory is at 13.57 million animals. This segment of the industry is experiencing a significant shift since inventory in commercial farms is down by more than 40%, but backyard farms are experiencing an inventory growth of 28%.
A Niche Market
In 2017, there were 1,500 emu farms in the U.S., with a total inventory of 11,500 animals. Emu meat is an emerging niche that attracts consumers looking for exotic meat.
Fast Food Success
Fast-food chicken franchises are having their day in the sun. The market is now worth $55 billion, and its value increased by 9% in 2022.
Whole Birds, Cut-Up Parts, and Processed Poultry
Whole birds only make up 9% of broiler sales. Cut-up parts represent 39%, and processed poultry products like nuggets account for 51%.
These statistics reveal a shift in how people consume chicken. In 1970, whole birds represented 70% of broiler sales, cut-up parts accounted for 26%, and processed products were only 4% of sales.
A Rising Demand for Nuggets
In 2020, a total of 73.36 million Americans consumed frozen chicken nuggets. This number represents 22% of the country’s population.
The Chicken Sandwich War
Chick-fil-A won the chicken sandwich war and is now the top restaurant for ordering chicken, followed by Popeye’s. However, 47% of U.S. restaurants offer a chicken sandwich, making it one of the most popular menu items nationwide.
How Much Do Poultry Farmers Make?
Salary data shows that poultry farmers earn $32,000 to $36,000 a year on average. Farm managers can make as much as $80,000 a year.
The Importance of Sustainability
A survey revealed that 49% of consumers are willing to eat more chicken if they learn the producer raised the birds sustainably. Sustainability could be the key to resilience for the industry as meat substitutes gain market shares.
As more consumers seek healthy and affordable options, poultry consumption continues to grow in the U.S. In spite of recent difficulties linked to COVID-19 and avian influenza, the industry has a bright future and could become a leader in setting best practices for sustainability and transparency in the agricultural sector.