of national production
Consumption of chicken meat continues to grow
Chicken production continued a steady upward trend to reach an estimated value of $814 million, and 6% year-on-year growth. A range of complex conditions contributed to this trend with consumer sentiment being the underpinning factor. Farm gate prices also increased, however at a steadier and less volatile rate than for the red meat sector.
NSW was the leading poultry producing state, averaging 33% of national production over the past four years. Reaching record highs, production was up 5% year-on-year to 416,982 tonnes, contrasting with an overall national production decline of 3%14. The production increase was in response to greater consumer demand in the face of relatively high prices for substitute proteins such as beef and sheep meat.
(Bubble size denotes tonnes slaughtered)
Average Bird Weight
Number of birds slaughtered
SA & WA
The price of poultry is estimated to have increased by 1% year-on-year to $2.17 per kilogram, below the 2.3% consumer price index rise noted in Sydney markets2, 12. A contributing factor to the steady price growth was downstream pressure from consumers capping price increases, and translating into slower farm price growth relative to other proteins over recent times60.
A number of positive factors such as relatively affordable prices compared with beef, sheep and pork, consumer demand for leaner protein sources, and a perceived healthier alternative all contributed to the increased demand for chicken meat60.
Exports increased 5% year-on-year to $22.9 million. The majority of the growth came from Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan with 306%, 139% and 97% increases respectively, the latter two overtaking the Solomon Islands as the primary export destination. The Solomon Islands, along with the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and a mix of other Pacific Islands took less poultry over the course of the year. Growth in exports peaked from March 2017 through to October 2017, after which exports returned to more typical levels54.
Consumption of chicken meat continued to surge (7% increase year-on-year), with pork the only other significant meat based protein whose consumption increased. This is in contrast to beef and sheep meat, both of which continued to lose ground on a per capita basis5.
Underpinning this demand was an increase in the health consciousness of consumers who were seeking leaner sources of protein60. Poultry producers also faced challenges to their cost of production, with feed grain and fodder prices increasing with the dry domestic seasonal conditions.