Tyson Raises Chicken Prices Over 20% as ‘Premium’ Beef Demand Softens

Balsamic grilled chicken breast with fresh herbs sliced on a rustic wooden board.
VeselovaElena / Getty Images/iStockphoto

With food prices remaining high due to current rate of record inflation, American consumers have been shifting their spending habits. This was reflected in Tyson Foods’ earnings call on Aug. 8, as the company said that while demand for protein remains “relatively steady,” there was a “softer consumer demand for premium cuts of beef.” Instead, consumers have been turning to less pricey items, such as chicken.

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But this might not help consumers either, as the company — whose brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park — saw an average price increase of 20.1% in Q3 for chicken, a price increase necessitated by “an inflationary cost environment.”

Donnie King, Tyson’s president and CEO, said in an Aug. 8 earnings call that the company’s sales gains “were largely driven by higher average sales price in chicken and prepared foods,” according to a transcript.

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In addition to chicken, Tyson’s prepared food prices were also up, represented by a 13.8% increase. Meanwhile, the average price for the company’s beef was 1.2% lower and the average price of their pork was 3.9% lower for the quarter, according to the earnings release. 

Americans are being increasingly harried by high food prices. In fact, 90% of Americans say they are concerned about food prices, according to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

According to Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures, the food at home index rose 12.2% in the past year and the overall food index increased 1% in June, bringing the latter category’s total increase to 10.4% for the 12 months ending June. This figure represents the largest 12-month increase since the period ending Feb. 1981, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These figures are also higher than the overall inflation rate, which stood at 9.1% in June. The BLS is set to release July CPI data on Aug. 10.

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A recent survey from Numerator also showed that inflation is indeed changing shoppers’ habits, as GOBankingRates previously reported. For example, dollar stores are seeing more high-income shoppers — which it describes as people with income greater than $80,000 — who are also switching to save. The Numerator survey found that dollar store sales are up by about 14%.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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