Popularity of Hybrid Breed Boosts Chicken Production in South Korea

SOUTH KOREA - The Korean poultry market is expected to continue to expand in 2017, with increases in production and imports increasing to meet growing popularity of chicken products, according to the latest report on the country from the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service.
calendar icon 5 October 2016
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Korean production is forecasted to increase only slightly, two per cent over 2016 levels, to 930,000 MT. This is due to decreased inventory of parental stock throughout 2016, decreased profit for integrated Korean chicken companies as a result of increased competition over the past three or four years, and increased frozen chicken stock due to an over-supply of domestic chickens.

Imports are also expected to increase as US chicken imports resume after the ban on US chicken due to the previous highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks was lifted in July 2016.

The main area of production growth is expected to be the hybrid breed of chicken known as "Samgye", which is increasing in popularity. Production of Samgye chicken is growing due to the comparatively strong economic returns producers receive from this variety. Compared to regular broilers, Samgye chicken has a shorter growing period and lower production costs.

Samgye chicken is a hybrid chicken bred using a broiler rooster and a layer hen, resulting in a better texture and a shorter growing period than broilers.

Inventory of Samgye chicken doubled during the past decade, from 64 million birds in 2004 to 150 million birds in 2015. Samgye chicken is usually consumed in chicken ginseng soup (called “Samgyetang”) primarily during the hottest days of the summer season. Some low-priced franchise chicken delivery companies are also using Samgye for a “two chickens for the price of one” promotion, which is possible because of its smaller size and competitive price.

According to FAS, Korea’s demand for meat has been increasing over the past several years, with diet patterns moving toward a more western meat- and fruit-based diet, and away from grain-based meals.

Consumption of chicken is expected to increase further, FAS said, as the reopening of US chicken imports helps to fill existing demand. The popularity of "Chimac" Chicken and Beer continues to grow at the pub, and fried chicken delivery service franchises continue to grow, which will also contribute to increased consumption.

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