Chicken drumsticks are finding their way to American dinner tables as a slowdown in exports has kept more of the dark meat in U.S. grocery stores and warehouses.
Historically, chicken dark meat – long shunned by U.S. consumers in favour of white meat chicken breast – has largely been exported by U.S. chicken companies.
China and Russia, which two years ago bought more than a third of U.S. chicken exports, are buying fewer and fewer chicken legs and thighs.
Russia has slowed purchases as it works to expand domestic production, while China has bought less due to anti-dumping duties on U.S. chicken.
Year-to-date U.S. chicken exports are above a year ago, but may slow later with USDA estimating annual exports down 5.5 per cent from 2010.
Now, the low-priced meat may be an easy sell with
FOOD STAMP USERS
“If you are eating on food stamps, leg quarters look like a pretty good buy,” said Paul Aho, economist at Poultry Perspective. “We still have nine per cent unemployment. It will be interesting to see, larger discount than if we had exports, because we are overwhelming the domestic market,” said Jim Robb, economist at the Livestock Marketing Information Center which provides economic analysis to the livestock industry.
While a drop in chicken exports has motivated this shift to domestic markets, demand pat terns for dark meat chicken are changing in the United States.
Altin Kalo, analyst at Steiner Consulting, said dark meat is a favourite in U.S. Hispanic and Asian communities that are growing rapidly.
“Except in the U.S. and Europe, dark meat is the preferred meat worldwide,” he said.
“ExceptintheU.S. andEurope,dark meatisthepreferred meatworldwide.”