Brazil continues domination of UAE chicken market

Brazil represented 78.5% of the market in 2022
calendar icon 9 April 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Brazil’s poultry exports increased an average of 12% market share from 2013 to 2023, attaining a record 78.5% of the market in 2022. Brazil’s market share is expected to continue to grow, according to a recent US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

Industry sources report that Brazilian poultry continues to dominate the market in the UAE due to preferred pack size, price advantage, and a robust local presence of Brazilian companies in the UAE.

US poultry exports to UAE are mostly large super sacks of dark meat (chicken leg quarters) targeting facilities serving migrant labour, as well as major processing facilities. Local importers state that super sacks put US poultry at a disadvantage compared to smaller packaging sizes available from Brazil. This is because smaller packaging can feed multiple channels, whereas super sacks can only supply major processing facilities.

US chicken meat prices have been driven higher by elevated shipping costs and production disruptions. When prices for US leg quarters reached $1,200 per MT in the second quarter of 2023 (and $1,250 in April), demand for US chicken meat began to decline as the price of whole chicken from Brazil could be purchased for $1,500 per MT. 

This counterintuitive dynamic may be attributable to consumer behaviour, cultural considerations, or low- and middle- income UAE consumer preference. 

Some consumers may deem a full or half-chicken, which includes white breast, preferable to merely a leg quarter, regardless of its weight or size. Thus, when the price of US leg quarter reaches around 75% of the price for a Brazilian whole chicken, UAE demand for US chicken meat begins to weaken.

The presence of Brazilian-owned processing facilities in the UAE also raises Brazil’s competitiveness. For example, Brazil Foods, which exports chicken meat and describes itself as “the world’s largest halal animal-protein company,” opened a new factory at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi. 

Another Brazilian poultry producer (JBS) acquired two plants in the UAE in 2022 to produce prepared foods and serve as a regional hub for halal products.

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