The poultry sector saw an improved performance in 2022 compared to the previous years as prices of inputs, mainly soyabean and soyameal eased. Also, the demand was up marginally, aided by a slight uptake in realisations. The sector expects an increase in offtake and the adaptability of processed meat in 2023 while being wary of the firming trend in prices of maize next year.

“The year 2022 was favourable to the poultry sector as a whole. We have noticed that the consumption pattern of consumers has slowly shifted from food security to nutritional security with an increased awareness towards protein consumption. This year, chicken continued to remain the preferred choice of meat amongst consumers despite having the same protein value as fish and mutton, resulting in an overall boost in the agro-food industry,” said B Soundararajan, Chairman, Suguna Group.

Impact of pandemic

In India, the poultry industry produces and consumes around 600 billion eggs and 6 million tonnes of chicken meat every year. Over the past few years, the poultry sector had faced adverse impact of the Covid pandemic, outbreak of bird flu and the surge in feed costs.

“The overall input costs eased during 2022 compared to the previous year due to the softening of soyameal prices. The average realisations were marginally higher than last year, while there has been a decent growth in consumption,” said KS Ashok Kumar of MAA Integrators.

Suguna’s Soundarajan said the increase in per capita income has been a major influence in increased meat purchases across regions. “More hotels, restaurants, and cafeterias have come developed, leading to the heightened demand for meat products. With these factors playing a key role, the sector has witnessed poultry companies operating at near-full capacity in 2022,” he said.

Concern over maize

“Post the pandemic, we have also seen a steadfast acceptance and preference towards processed meat opening up more avenues for growth in this sector. Safety and hygiene play a key role and the consumer’s global exposure has influenced the consumption of processed meat. All in all, we anticipate considerable breakthroughs in the poultry industry as well as increased consumption and adaptability of processed meat in India by 2023,” Soundarajan said.

Sushant Rai, president, Karnataka Poultry Farmer Breeder Association, said while the consumption is good, the market was not supportive of the producers. The rising raw material costs, especially prices of maize will be a concern next year, Rai said. While the maize crop was good, the extended rains in regions such as Davangere and Shimoga have impacted the output, resulting in prices firming up.

The emergence of e-commerce players in the retailing of poultry and meat products is seen helping the industry in creating the demand. “E-commerce has created a positive impact for the sector, mainly for the processed products,” Ashok Kumar said.

Rai said the advertising campaigns being carried out by the e-commerce players is seen indirectly benefitting the poultry producers.