Consumer Survey Shows Chicken Has Advantage on Attributes

Consumption of chicken in the United States will continue to increase while beef consumption falls over the next several years, according to Randall W. Goins, Chairman of the National Chicken Council.

“Beef has gotten very expensive and the cattle herd is shrinking,” Goins told an audience of food writers attending a seminar in conjunction with the National Chicken Cooking Contest here. “Beef prices will remain relatively high for the next several years, and consumption will drop as a result.”

Goins cited statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that prices for nearly all types of beef products early this year were at their highest points in the last ten years.

The National Chicken Council also released the results of a survey showing that chicken outscored beef and pork on every attribute explored in the survey, which included versatility, taste, ease of preparation, being healthful and nutritious, price, and consistency of quality

“Chicken’s strong showing in the survey helps confirm that consumers have great confidence in a variety of chicken’s attributes,” said William P. Roenigk, NCC senior vice president and chief economist.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association recently released figures showing that Americans consumed 82 pounds of chicken per capita in 2000 while they consumed 69.5 pounds of beef. Goins pointed out that consumption of chicken has steadily increased from 47 pounds per person in 1980, while beef consumption has dropped from 77 pounds in that year.

Goins said that chicken continues to dominate the convenience market, with chicken products accounting for approximately two-thirds of the “heat and serve” items in grocery meat cases. He acknowledged growing competition from beef and pork products in this category but said chicken would maintain its position as the “meat of choice for people in a hurry.”

Goins also predicted that the chicken industry would export 25 percent of its production by the year 2005, up from 18 percent in 2000, as foreign demand continues to build for poultry, especially leg meat. He said this would help hold down the retail price of white meat in the United States by addressing the domestic imbalance of demand, since white meat is more popular than leg meat domestically while leg meat is more popular overseas.

The National Chicken Cooking Contest culminates in a National Cookoff here Friday in which 51 contestants, representing every state and the District of Columbia, prepare their original recipes for a panel of judges made up of top food writers. The grand prize is $25,000. The contest is sponsored by NCC and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

The National Chicken Council is the Washington-based trade association for the nation’s integrated chicken producer-processors. The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, Tucker, Ga., represents all segments of the industry and conducts a wide variety of scientific and educational programs.

Here are the percentages of consumers who agreed that certain attributes were true of chicken, beef and pork:



Can be prepared in many ways


Tastes good


Is easy to prepare


Is healthful and nutritious


Is reasonably priced


Is consistent in quality



The survey of 1,008 randomly selected adults was taken by telephone March
2-4, 2001, by Bruskin Research of Edison, New Jersey.