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Poultry meat holds steady in Canada in 2020

Disruptions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic led to the first drop in Canadian poultry meat production in a decade. Meanwhile, egg production increased for the 16th consecutive year.

In 2020, 1.5 billion kg of chicken, turkey and stewing hens were produced in Canada, with chickens accounting for 89.2% of total poultry production, according to Statistics Canada.

A total of 1.5 billion kg of chicken, turkey and stewing hens were produced in Canada in 2020. Photo: Capri23 auto
A total of 1.5 billion kg of chicken, turkey and stewing hens were produced in Canada in 2020. Photo: Capri23 auto

In 2020, poultry producers faced temporary closures of processing facilities and reduced demand from the food service industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This resulted in the first decline (2.2% compared with 2019) in poultry production in the country in a decade. As a result of higher producer prices, however, sales of poultry meat held steady at CAN$3.2 billion (US$2.6 billion).

Ontario and Quebec, combined, accounted for over half of chicken production and ⅔ of the turkey production in the country last year.

Between 2010 and 2020, retail prices for chicken rose 20.3%. The lower price increase for chicken compared with other popular meats may have contributed to greater consumer demand, which spurred chicken production and availability for consumption.

Egg and turkey production

Canada’s net egg production rose 2.1% in 2020, to 839.3 million dozen eggs – the 16th consecutive annual increase. The total value of eggs produced rose 3.9% to CAN$1.6 billion (US$1.3 billion), translating into the average value of eggs produced increasing from CAN$1.91 (US$1.58) per dozen in 2019 to CAN$1.94 (US$1.61) per dozen in 2020. Meanwhile, retail egg prices rose 40.2% from January 2010 to CAN$3.66 (US$3.03) per dozen in December 2020.

Turkey production decreased 4.1% to 158.3 million kg in 2020, which is the 4th consecutive annual decline.