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Chicken Industry Responds to Changing Markets During COVID-19

BURLINGTON, ON – April 7, 2020 – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario chicken industry is adjusting allotments in order to meet changes to market demand.
“Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) is working with our farmer-members and our chicken industry partners to implement flexible and temporary changes and adjustments to ensure we support the Ontario chicken market,” said Ed Benjamins, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “These are difficult times, and we are making responsible leadership decisions. Our top priority is to support the health and safety of our farmer-members, our industry partners, and the Ontario chicken supply chain.”
The State of Emergency declared by the Government of Ontario ended in-person dining in restaurants and resulted in the closure of many food service establishments. The same is true for much of Canada. Restaurants Canada estimates that nearly 1 in 10 restaurants have permanently closed and 53% of restaurants are temporarily closed. Drive through and take-out options remain, but volumes have declined dramatically. Estimates are that the demand for chicken through the food service channel has temporarily declined by approximately two thirds.

The retail channel continues to operate and the initial response by consumers was panic buying of chicken, which led to a surge in demand. The retail pattern is now shifting and the center of store with non-perishable foods is seeing a greater demand than foods such as meat protein.

Currently, the demand for chicken at retail appears to be lower than pre-pandemic levels. While the situation is considered temporary, there are some concerns of excess supply of chicken.
“It is crucial that the entire chicken industry value chain comes together to support the temporarily changing chicken market,” said Rob Dougans, President & CEO of Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “CFO is working with industry stakeholders to ensure alignment. Ontarians will always need a steady supply of safe, healthy, high quality chicken.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and changing market demands, the CFO Board of Directors has re-issued allotments to farmer-members in order to better meet the needs of the Ontario chicken market.
These flexible and temporary changes and adjustments amount to a reduction of about 15% of Ontario chicken allotment.
CFO and the Ontario chicken industry are working together to monitor and anticipate ongoing Ontario chicken market needs. Future allotments will be based on the latest market data available at the time.
CLICK HERE for more information regarding the Ontario chicken industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The CFO Board of Director thanks our industry partners, all levels of government, and the public for putting the health and safety of Ontarians first, during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” said Benjamins.