US celebrates National Chicken Month

Chicken is the most consumed meat in the US
calendar icon 19 September 2023
clock icon 3 minute read

As fall approaches, September celebrates the most-consumed meat in the United States: chicken. Two-thirds of US chicken are raised in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas, according to the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service (USDA-FAS). Chicken meat is also a top agricultural export for the US. 

Foreign markets are increasingly important to the US chicken industry, accounting for $4.4 billion in exports and 16% of global production in 2022. The United States is the world's second-largest exporter, with more than 145 countries importing US frozen chicken leg quarters, legs, and thighs last year.

While US consumers prefer chicken breast meat, internationally, dark meat is widely consumed and desired. Most US chicken meat exports are often destined for low and middle-income countries which value safe, affordable, tasty, high-protein options – especially consumers searching for ways to improve their food and nutrition security at a time of rising food prices. In 2022, 95% of US broiler meat exports were destined for developing economies. Fourteen percent of shipments were exported to least developed countries.

USDA’s FAS is dedicated to breaking down trade barriers, especially for high-demand products like chicken. For example, comments made by the United States to the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade persuaded Israel to withdraw a measure to impose maximum residue limits for dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls on poultry and other products that would have limited US exports. FAS worked at the international level to eliminate this trade barrier that would have affected $36 million in US exports to Israel.

Additionally, despite recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), US chicken meat exports have largely held their ground, declining only 1 percent by volume in 2022, but rising 22% by value thanks to higher prices. The impact of HPAI on exports in 2022 was a marked improvement from the devasting impact the outbreaks of HPAI had on trade in 2015. Through diligent negotiations with trading partners, USDA has retained, and re-opened markets constrained on HPAI-related restrictions.

And lastly, in 2022, FAS and other USDA agencies reaped the success of decades of engagement to open the market in Egypt to frozen poultry parts. USDA agencies negotiated certification requirements and worked with industry to address halal concerns. The first shipments were valued at $800,000 and gave US poultry exporters a foothold in Egypt’s more than $90 million market for imported poultry.

Every day, USDA works to remove barriers and improve foreign market access for US chicken meat, ensuring long-term market expansion.

Looking towards the future, chicken meat exports from the United States are expected to increase by 3% in 2024, thanks to increased production. Angola, Canada, China, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, the Philippines, and Taiwan are among the top markets and USDA is committed to working with the US poultry industry to ensure unhindered market access and continued success for America’s poultry producers.

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