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GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS 2011 - Chicken Uptake in Africa Growing; Well Above Average in Oceania

14 December 2011, at 12:00am

Chicken meat consumption is growing in Africa but it remains way below the global average, according to industry watcher, Terry Evans, in his latest analysis of trends in total and per-capita uptake in Africa and Oceania. The average for Oceania is almost three times the world average but shows wide variation in amounts and trends between countries in the region.

At 925 million, the number of undernourished people in the world showed a 10.6 per cent decline on the 1,023 million in 2009, primarily as a result of a more favourable economic environment, particularly in developing countries and a decline in international and domestic food prices since 2008, according to a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report. However, this latest estimate of the number of the hungry is higher than before the food and economic crisis of 2008/9 and is also above the level that existed when world leaders agreed to reduce the number by half at the World Food Summit in 1996.

Chicken Uptake in Africa Growing but Well Below World Average

Most of the hungry live in the developing countries, where they account for 16 per cent of the population. Just over a quarter, or 239 million, live in sub-Saharan Africa where the proportion undernourished is highest at 30 per cent.

While the estimates for 2010 indicate that the number undernourished will decline in all developing regions, although at a different pace, the FAO stresses that it should not be assumed that all the effects of the economic crisis on hunger disappear when the crisis is over. "Vulnerable households may deal with the shocks by selling assets which are difficult to rebuild and/or by reducing food consumption in terms of quantity and variety and by cutting down on health and education expenditures – coping mechanism that all have long term negative effects on the quality of life," states the report. Also, the FAO points out that as the world's population is still increasing, any decline in the proportion of people who are hungry can mask an increase in the actual number. In fact, developing countries as a group have seen an overall increase in terms of the number of hungry people from 827 million in 1990/92 to 906 million in 2010.

Unfortunately, the FAOSTAT's most recent estimates of poultry meat consumption are for 2007. In this data, the average uptake of poultry meat in Africa is put at 4.5kg per person compared with 4.0kg back in 2000. Based on estimates of poultry meat availability for 2010, it seems reasonable to assume that average consumption has continued to rise and is currently around 4.9kg per person although this is well below the world average, which is likely to be around 14kg per person. For chicken meat, the global average would appear to be around 12.3kg per person.

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A detailed appraisal of the situation in South Africa reveals that the growing demand for chicken of around six per cent per year between 2000 and 2008 did not continue in 2009 as high interest and inflation rates impacted negatively on consumer spending. However, 2010 witnessed an increase in demand in line with a recovery in the economy and because broiler meat maintained its position as one of the most affordable protein sources relative to the other meat protein alternatives. Chicken meat uptake in 2010 has been calculated at 32kg per person and South Africans are now eating double the quantity consumed in 1993.

Two key areas of growth are the expansion in fast-food outlets, particularly those that are heavily promoting chicken, and also a growing consumer demand for added-value products such as crumbed chicken, nuggets, marinated items, chicken in sauces and barbecue sticks. Poultry consumption is forecast to continue to grow despite demand having been negatively affected by a recent rise in unemployment. But here, as in the rest of Africa, the growth in demand will be fuelled by rising disposable incomes, higher employment and an increase in the prevalence of fast-food outlets. FAPRI anticipates broiler consumption rising by some 10 per cent by 2015 to around 34kg/person with continued increases to more than 41kg by 2025.

While throughout Africa the chicken meat industry's fortunes are closely linked to the levels of disposable incomes, re-distribution of wealth is also a key factor, as for a sizeable growth in demand it is important that the less well-off families share in improvements in a country's economy.

Chicken Consumption in Oceania Three Times Global Average

In contrast, average poultry meat consumption in Oceania in 2007 was roughly treble the global figure of 12.6kg. The average for Oceania is greatly influenced by the levels of uptake in just two countries – Australia and New Zealand, which combined account for more than 70 per cent of the region's population.

In Australia, improvements in production efficiency and increasing automation at processing plants have meant that chicken meat has continued to get cheaper when compared with other meats. Demand has also been given a boost through greater diversity in the range of chicken products, though improved quality and consistency have also played a part. As a result, poultry has become the leading meat consumed in uptake having overtaken that of beef, which is in decline. Currently, chicken consumption is considered to average around 37kg per person and is forecast to rise to at least 40kg by 2015.

Since 1986, consumption in New Zealand has increased from 14kg per person to more than 34kg. But in 2009, uptake contracted to 30.4kg in line with a general decrease in meat consumption. Nevertheless, chicken continued to be the leading meat eaten, accounting for almost 36 per cent of all meat consumed.

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December 2011