Healthy ongoing growth in poultry meat production and consumption is forecast over the short and medium term (e.g. ABARES, 2011a). The increase in demand for chicken meat forecasted reflects anticipated price increases for red meat. At the same time, prices for chicken meat are expected to be contained by productivity improvements and anticipated easing of feed prices, allowing it to retain its position as the most affordable and popular meat.
In terms of demand for free range chicken, based on trends oversees and in the Australian table egg market, it is expected that free range will grow to become between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of the total market.
In March 2011, ABARES forecast poultry consumption to increase from 38kg in 2009–10 to 39.6kg in 2015–16 (ABARES, 2011a). However given the most recent ABS statistics for 2010–11 (ABS, 2011) it appears that per capita consumption of chicken meat has already reached 43.9kg in 2010–11.
On the basis of these most recent statistics, the industry forecasts chicken meat consumption to increase to 46kg by 2015–2016 and exceed total red meat consumption before 2020.
As previously noted, global demand for meat is increasing and poultry’s growth rate is forecast to exceed that of all other meats. In Australia, significant changes in export volumes are not anticipated, with the industry expected to continue to focus on meeting domestic demand. It is anticipated that chicken meat’s recently acquired position as Australia’s most-consumed will be maintained and indeed strengthened significantly in the coming years, with growth in consumption forecast to continue.