3.4 The chicken meat industry in Australia - Value of the industry
Contribution of Chicken Meat to a Healthy Australian Diet
As Australia’s most significant supplier of high quality meat protein, the chicken meat industry makes an important contribution to the diets of Australian consumers. Chicken can contribute to a healthy eating pattern. The predominant cut consumed, breast meat, is low in fat, with its fat profile favouring polyunsaturated, rather than saturated, fatty acids. Chicken meat delivers essential vitamins and minerals and is the most affordable meat source (Charlton et al., 2008). Of the land based animal protein production systems, chicken meat production creates the least environmental burden, (Williams et al., 2006) and the Australian chicken industry is a significant contributor to the economy.
Value of Production
The gross value of poultry meat at the time of slaughter* was forecast by ABARES to total .179bn in 2010–11 (ABARES, 2011b). Industry estimates that consumers currently spend approximately .6bn per annum on chicken meat in retail outlets and restaurants. The chicken meat industry is also one of the largest customers of Australia’s grains industry, purchasing over 5 per cent of all grains produced in Australia.
Through its vertically integrated structure, the chicken meat industry provides a wide range of employment opportunities in urban, regional and rural areas.
These employment opportunities are in areas as diverse as farming, hatchery management, poultry processing, feed preparation, food processing, distribution, management, administration, quality control, research and development and veterinary services.
Many people are direct employees of the chicken meat processing companies, but employment in this sector also includes contract roles in farming, transportation and other services that support the poultry industry.
The number of people working within the industry is estimated to be approximately 40,000. In addition to this, a further 100,000 jobs are estimated to be directly dependent on the industry.