It may be time to look East, particularly in foodservice, for the next big opportunity in poultry.
According to the latest Rabobank research into the poultry market, consumption in Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines has outperformed global growth in the past five years, and it expects this trend to continue in the next five.
Rabobank has narrowed this growth down to three simple reasons: value for money and convenience: the increasing influence of millennials and foodservice overtaking retail in terms of importance.
It reports that further-processed products has helped improve the value proposition of poultry, particularly in smaller-sized foodservice outlets.
Of course, those damn millennials shouldn’t be overlooked. A younger population in Asian countries has created a snacking culture which fits in with the smaller foodservice model. This demographic is also willing to give feedback directly to the producer, which is market research in real time that can’t be bought.
Recognising the Asian opportunity, Cargill has invested heavily in the region. Speaking to GlobalMeatNews earlier this year, its group president of international protein Chris Langholz explained how it has opened poultry processing plants in Thailand and China in recent years. He said that the market in Asia has shifted, with a stronger relationship between the consumer and the processor.
“Take Shanghai as an example, it’s a very dynamic food market, with the consumer base connected with food companies like never before,” said Langholz. “NPD is very important to consumers in Shanghai, you have to cycle through NPD quickly, as consumers want to try lots of new things, plus they’re willing to give feedback.”
This strengthened relationship backs up Rabobank’s assertion that foodservice is helping drive poultry growth. “Chains of chicken fast-food kiosks appear well-suited to win in the changing consumption landscape of Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines,” said Ben Santoso, senior analyst – animal protein. “These kiosks tick all the boxes when it comes to accessibility, infrastructure, and direct consumer interaction.”
He believes that while other proteins have also seen growth in Asian foodservice, “chicken’s relatively lower price point and versatility across different cultures have held better appeal”. Santoso predicts that consumption growth through foodservice will far outweigh that in retail over the next five years.