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Grocers haven't passed poultry savings along

by 5m Editor
29 May 2006, at 12:00am

US - Are consumers getting plucked at the chicken counter? A glut of chickens that has built partly because of foreign fears of avian flu is slashing the prices that poultry processors get for some parts of disassembled birds to the lowest levels in three decades. But retail prices aren&#39;t falling at the same speed, according to government economists. A price break would be a big deal for consumers. Americans eat more chicken than any other meat — nearly 86 pounds per capita last year — and spend roughly $50 billion annually for it. The price charged by processors for whole broilers is 19 percent lower than it was a year ago, with parts such as breasts and legs dropping 24 percent and 36 percent, respectively, in the same time period. Retail poultry prices will slip no more than 1 percent from last year, according to forecasts by economists at the Agriculture Department. The National Chicken Council, the trade group representing processors such as Tyson Foods Inc. and Pilgrim&#39;s Pride Corp., doesn&#39;t comment on retail prices. But livestock analysts think a corresponding drop in retail prices would increase consumer demand enough to help reduce the chicken glut. &quot;I think the retailers aren&#39;t competing nearly as aggressively as they used to,&quot; says Dan Vaught, a livestock analyst at A.G. Edwards & Sons, St. Louis. <i>Source: Twin Cities</i>

5m Editor