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Dark meat challenges white meat in pecking order

Photo courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture (http://bit.ly/2GiDv3H)

A new report finds dark meat chicken is gaining traction among United States consumers.

CoBank recently examined the growing demand for dark meat chicken among United States consumers. Will Sawyer, lead economist for CoBank, says “Evolving U.S. Demographics Give Chicken a New Leg to Stand On.”

“(We’re) following the way millennials are looking to dark meat in a way their parents and grandparents didn’t. I think it falls on the ethnic cuisine millennials have had available to them most of their lives,” Sawyer said. “Now dark meat is the protein of choice when it comes to chicken. I think that’s going to benefit U.S. chicken producers long-term.”

Growth among ethnic groups is also attributed to the shift in demand.

“The Latin and Asian communities, which are growing across the country, (are) also driving dark meat demand. We see breast meat as the traditional American chicken product. When you go to international cuisine, it’s the other half of the bird,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer adds, “Dark meat chicken offers producers a new avenue for profitability.” 

“Exports have been a great way for the industry to grow, a great way for the industry to balance domestic white meat demand and finding a home for dark meat. We’re going to have a more balanced value in the bird. As a result, that’s going to be a more stable value,” Sawyer said. 

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