Fake Meat & Bugs are Starting to Look Good…

Aug 23, 2023 | Macro Insights, No Bull Economics

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Covid threw a monkey’s wrench into protein production, prices, and resultant demand. The most noticeable impact has been on chicken prices which increased close to +50% per year during both 2021 & 2022. This is particularly difficult for consumers as demand for the most cost-effective protein has been steadily growing over both the long-term & near-term.

Commentary

  • Chicken should be considered vital to U.S. food security, representing almost a third of total protein consumption.
  • Should we be concerned that Tyson has closed a total of 6 chicken production plants and converted 2 to boneless cuts only through YTD 3Q23 (as outlined in this post)? Although this reduction will only reduce -10% of Tyson’s current supply, it is likely to drive chicken prices higher as consumers continue to trade down from expensive beef protein options.
  • Separately, we would like an explanation about why wing prices declined so sharply in 2022 when the price of chicken increased dramatically. OK, we understand that the mix for boneless wings may have increased, but don’t wings & breasts come from the same bird?
  • Does it concern anyone that wing prices have increased +41% over the last 2 months while chicken prices have decreased -14%? Maybe only WING investors!
Protein Pounds Per Capita Chart

Source: https://www.nationalchickencouncil.org/statistic/per-capita-consumption-poultry/

Protein Prices Per Year Chart

Source: USDA

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