Consolidation of the chicken industry - and other production sectors - will continue in the years ahead as industries mature, and there is "a school of thought" that consolidated firms will be organized around a "multi-protein model," with divisions in two or more kinds of proteins, according to Jim Perdue, chair and CEO of Perdue Farms Inc.
Perdue, participating with Pilgrim's CEO Clint Rivers in a panel at the National Chicken Council conference last week, discussed the challenges facing the chicken industry, said more and more of these firms will invest in operations abroad because of the "costs" of increasing regulations in the U.S., and there will be more and more foreign ownership of U.S. firms. He said knowing one's customers will also be important, noting that growth in food retailing is occurring more in the superstore and warehouse formats, convenience and drug stores and gas stations than in the traditional grocery and supermarkets.
Perdue said food producers will also need to respond to demographics, especially the older and the ethnic segments. Food will need to be in easy-to-open and easy-to-store packaging and will need to be easy to cook but of "restaurant quality," he added. He said retailers will ask for more private brands to distinguish themselves from their competitions, which will be a challenge for companies with national brands.