Poultry remains as popular as ever in Mexico

15-10-2021 | | |
Chicken remains the most consumed meat in Mexico, representing nearly 60% of total meat consumption. Photo: Freepik
Chicken remains the most consumed meat in Mexico, representing nearly 60% of total meat consumption. Photo: Freepik

With Mexican households spending an estimated US$?1.4 billion on poultry in 2020, chicken meat, eggs and egg products remain the most popular and affordable animal protein.

Mexico’s poultry sector produces a variety of broiler-type chickens for meat production, including smaller broilers for rotisserie restaurants, chicken for processing into poultry parts and processed meat or ready-to-cook products, and whole chickens. The production cycles for each type varies between 8 to 12 weeks depending on market weight.

Chicken production is projected to expand to 875,000 mt in 2022, up 1.7% from 2021, due to growing domestic demand, greater domestic pricing power as long-standing tariff-rate-quota allocations lapse, and relatively less volatile feed costs.

Rotisserie chickens account for about 37% of total consumption.

It is forecast that chicken consumption will reach 4,767 mmt in 2022, up about 2% from 2021. Although the average Mexican consumer is consuming less animal protein, among higher and middle-income consumers, including tourists, overall consumer demand for chicken is growing, and remains the most consumed meat in Mexico, representing nearly 60% of total meat consumption.

Poultry imports for further processing

Imports account for about 18% of total domestic chicken meat consumption in Mexico, and chilled leg quarters and mechanically deboned chicken from the US accounts for nearly half of all imports. Frozen breasts, wings, and leg quarters are also imported from Brazil. Companies that further process poultry for use in products such as sausages, hams, and cold cuts are a major source of import demand.

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It is forecast that chicken imports in 2022 will reach 875,000 mt, up almost 2% from 2021 due to rising demand for chicken meat for further processing into processed meat.

US demand for ready-to-heat/eat chicken

In 2022, chicken exports are expected to expand by nearly 17% to 8,000 mt on strong US demand for heat-treated ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products. Mexican processors are slowly expanding exports of these products.

Meanwhile, Mexican animal health authorities expect to resume negotiations with China to gain recognition of avian influenza disease-free zones in 2022, seeking new market access to China.

Traditional turkeys

Mexican consumers typically favour chicken and pork over turkey. However, as more Mexicans take interest in US traditions, roast turkey is also a popular seasonal dish to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s.

Turkey meat consumption in 2022 is expected to remain unchanged (181,000 mt) from 2021, largely limited to turkey meat for further processing into processed meat products. Turkey production in 2022 is expected to fall to 17,000 mt, down about 5.5% from 2021 as producers substitute turkey production for higher-margin chicken production. High input costs, longer production cycles, and limited government incentives continue to drive turkey producers to switch to chicken production.

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Mexico depends heavily on imports to satisfy domestic demand for turkeys. Turkey imports in 2022 are forecast to reach 155,000 mt, up nearly 2% from 2021. Exports are anticipated to fall to 1,300 mt in 2022, down 13% from 2021 due to strong domestic demand and fewer exportable supplies.

Mexico leads in egg consumption

Mexico remains the world’s leading consumer of eggs and egg products and demand for eggs and egg products will also grow as consumer respond to rising prices of meat. Egg consumption in 2022 is anticipated to reach 25.23 kg per capita, up 3% from 2021 based on strong demand for affordable protein. Egg production is expected to expand to 3.19 million mt, up 3% from 2021, due to steady growth in domestic demand, improved layer hen genetics and investments into egg production technology and management practices.

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About 77% of Mexico’s shell eggs are sold to the wholesale channel in traditional and central wholesale markets. Another 15% of shell eggs are sold to retail channels, and 8% is destined for further processing into egg products in the industrial channel.

Egg trade

Egg imports in 2022 are expected to grow less than 1% to 95,500 mt compared to 2021 as domestic production partly substitutes imports. Meanwhile, it is forecast that egg and egg products exports will recover to 120 mt, up 50% from 2021, but still significantly lower compared to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels.

This article has been compiled from information extracted from a USDA GAINS report.

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist