JB Says No Current Plans to Hike Chicken Price

JAMAICA - The Jamaica Broilers Group, which produces the Best Dressed Chicken brand, says there is no immediate plan to increase the price of chicken meat, despite rising feed costs and the fluctuating foreign exchange.
calendar icon 21 May 2013
clock icon 4 minute read

According to Jamaica Observer, the chicken-producing giant, which last increased the popular protein this January, said it is pulling out all stops to absorb additional costs so they are not passed on to consumers.

"... As we speak at this time we are not seeing a price increase coming in the very short term," Vice-President of Accounting and Information Systems at Jamaica Broilers Group Donald Patterson said.

Mr Patterson, who was among a group of Jamaica Broilers executives participating in the weekly Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper's head offices in Kingston, said the management team is constantly looking for ways to keep the cost of its products affordable.

In March, Jamaica Broilers Group CEO Christopher Levy said the company planned on increasing prices for a second time this year as a result of the sliding value of the Jamaican dollar.

In statements accompanying the report on the financial performance of his company, Mr Levy revealed that the unremitting devaluation of the dollar had caused a drop in profits this year, forcing the company to pass on some of the increased costs to the consumers.

"We keep our eye on the dollar and the devaluation that is taking place and re-cost on a regular basis, especially as corn shipments come in. I think probably we are going to have to move prices again in March. That's how it's looking at this point in time," Mr Levy said then.

However, Mr Patterson said those plans were shelved, at least for now, as the company continues to monitor the situation.

Mr Patterson, however, said there is no guarantee what will happen in the next few months, given the volatile grain prices and the fluctuation of the Jamaican dollar against its United States counterpart.

"We look for efficiencies and try to find ways and means to absorb cost, more so than to pass it on, but with grain prices being up and down as well as the exchange rate, what will happen in a month's time we really can't be definitive," Mr Patterson said.

Meanwhile, Best Dressed Chicken's Divisional Sales and Marketing Manager Joan Forrest Henry said even when there is the need for an increase, the company never passes on the full cost to the consumer.

"We always decide what portion we would absorb as a part of our own operating expense because we know the market is under pressure," she said, adding that the company normally subsidises such price increases.

Poultry is one of the most consumed protein in Jamaica where the total production of chicken meat is said to be in the region of two million kilos or 4.4 million pounds per week.

This, it is said, places Jamaica just a little bit behind the United States in the per capita consumption of chicken.

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