Chicken continues to be the choice protein in 2021

A study done by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has predicted that chicken will continue to be the favoured consumer protein choice.

The study estimated that Australians on average will eat 46.4kg of chicken between 2020 and 2021, making up for almost half of the total meat consumed in Australia. It also placed the gross value of production in the 2020 to 2021 chicken meat industry at approximately $2.89 billion.

Furthermore, research funded by AgriFutures Australia revealed that two-thirds of Australian households ate chicken twice a week with reasons for its popularity including convenience, affordability and versatility. The study also found that misconceptions regarding the conditions chickens live in and use of hormone and antibiotics were still commonly held.

An earlier research done in 2008 found that 40 per cent of customers incorrectly believed whether steroids and hormones were used in chickens with a further 12 per cent of survey takers believing that antibiotics helped chickens grow.

These misconceptions continue despite an industry wide policy instated 15 years ago which sees no antibiotics used for growth promotion with better living standards for chickens.

“In Australia, meat chickens are not raised in cages and the use of hormones and steroids was banned decades ago,” said Vivien Kite, Australian Chicken Meat Foundation executive director. “Our rigorous Australian standards restrict antibiotic use only to treat unwell chickens or prevent infections if there is a high risk of disease. Also, strict withholding periods exist to ensure that there are no antibiotics present at the time of processing.”

According to Wendy Umberger, executive director of the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide, chickens have the lowest environmental footprint across the meat industry and is the least expensive meat form.

“More than 99% of chicken meat sold in Australia is born, bred, and raised in Australia, giving shoppers confidence their choice is good for them, their wallet, and the environment.”

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