For value in the meat and poultry department, it’s hard to top a whole roaster chicken, which can easily feed a big family for under $10.

But today’s consumers are also looking for variety, and poultry producers are there to meet the demand, with new flavors, more personalized options, more convenience (think snacking), and firmer commitments to health, sustainability and transparency.

When it comes to grocery chicken, the quality gap between retailers is narrowing. That same high-end bird you could only get at a high-end retailer a few years ago might now also be found at your local discount retailer.


New forms, new cultures, personalization

More protein in more forms, personalized foods to promote health and beauty and the fusion of global cuisines at home are among some of the latest trends in the kinds of chicken products being sold in the grocery perimeter, says Alix Kosobucki, senior brand manager on Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Brands’ Tyson Fresh Marketing & Innovation team.

For many of today’s consumers, “more protein in more forms” has a very specific meaning: “more snacks.”

“We’re offering new meat snacks because three meals a day is no longer the norm,” Kosobucki says. “Consumers eat smaller snacks throughout the day.”

When it comes to personalized foods to promote health and beauty, meanwhile, Tyson sees a desire among consumers to find new ways of preparing their chicken.

“We’re innovating with different cooking styles as consumers are looking for foods that meet their own personalized nutrition needs,” Kosobucki says.

The fusion of global cuisines at home trend leans toward experimentation. “We’re innovating with new flavors because food is a form of cultural self-expression and exploration,” he says.

Tyson’s chicken marketing program for retail focuses on three “key seasons,” Kosobucki says: Game Day, Grilling Season and Back to School.

“Innovation is critical throughout these seasons,” he says. “Something that adds value to our customers and consumers and sets us apart.”

Early in 2019, look for Tyson to introduce new meat snacks for people on the go as well as some new flavors for the exploratory eaters, Kosobucki says.  And this summer, the company will introduce some better-for-you options just in time for back to school shopping.

“This year, we will be introducing more offerings with more flavors to make cooking chicken both personal and convenient.” Kosobucki says.


Perdue rolls out new packaging

To enhance credibility and preference amongst today’s evolving consumer, Salisbury, Maryland-based Perdue Farms Inc. has introduced a new, modern package design for its line of fresh chicken.

The contemporary design introduces a variety of playful illustrations and vibrant colors aimed to inspire and connect with the millennial demographic, while staying true to “the Perdue way,” according to the company. The re-design also highlights trusted product attributes like no-antibiotics-ever, 100 percent vegetarian fed, no animal by-products, raised cage free and with no hormones or steroids.

This re-brand makes the fourth major packaging update in the history of the brand, further highlighting key brand messages and attributes with shoppers. Resonating extremely well with consumers, more than 65 percent of overall participants surveyed in a brand consumer test favored the new design and millennials preferred the updated look 200 percent more.

“Fifty years ago, my dad put our family name on chicken.  It was more than a label, it was his personal promise of quality,” says Jim Perdue, Perdue chairman and brand spokesman. “Over the years, our look has changed and so have we. Perdue is continually improving everything we do, and that’s why we’re introducing new packaging for our fresh chicken.”

Consumers began to see the bright new packaging in stores in September, and they and can expect a fresh new look on the Perdue website and other digital platforms as well.


Organic chicken market set for big growth

The Global Organic Chicken Market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 19% during the period between now and 2023, according to a new report from Research and Markets.

One trend affecting this market is the use of blockchain for improving supply chain transparency. The supply chain transparency is one of the major problems associated with the food and beverage industry.

According to the report, one driver influencing this market is the health awareness among consumers. Health-conscious individuals are focusing on the consumption of a balanced diet along with their routine workout, which has paved the demand for organic chicken.

Further, the report states that one challenge affecting this market is the high cost of feed grains and fluctuations in commodity prices. Organic feed grains are valued at a higher cost in comparison to traditional raw materials owing to the high labor cost.

Key Organic Chicken Producers:

Foster Farms

Hain Celestial

Perdue Farms


Tyson Foods


Sanderson changes antibiotic use program

By March 1, Laurel, Mississippi-based Sanderson Farms Inc., the country’s third-largest chicken producer, will discontinue using antibiotics considered medically important for humans for disease prevention in its live poultry operations.

The change follows the completion of an independent study the company commissioned earlier this year on its antibiotics program for its live operations. As part of its ongoing animal welfare and antibiotic stewardship efforts, the company commissioned an advisory board of scientific experts in poultry production, livestock management, and antibiotic use in veterinary and human medicine to study and report on the company’s use of antibiotics in its live poultry production operations.

The advisory board found no misuse of antibiotics at Sanderson Farms or other deficiencies in its program and stated that “it is not possible to estimate with a high level of confidence the true risk to human health posed by antibiotic use practices in poultry production.”

But the board also concluded that “a move by Sanderson Farms to a system where non-medically important antibiotics . . . can be used for prevention, and medically important antibiotics can be used for treatment and control of disease, could represent a responsible compromise to better preserve efficacy of antibiotics important for human health, while also avoiding the adverse impacts of a RWA/NAE system on chicken health and welfare.”

“We are grateful for the work of the independent scientists who served on the advisory board, and we value their findings,” says Joe Sanderson, Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms. “As a result of their report, we have determined to discontinue by March 1, 2019, the use of gentamicin and virginiamycin for prevention of disease in our live operations. These are the only two antibiotics considered medically important for humans that we currently use for prevention purposes. Our live production team, including our team of veterinarians, is prepared to ensure this change has as little impact as possible on the health and welfare of our birds and environmental resources.”