Chicken prices to spiral further in Australia as inflation bites

Chicken prices to spiral further in Australia as inflation bites
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(Aug 19): Consumers in Australia face further price hikes for chicken, one of the country’s top poultry processors warned on Friday, as the world’s most consumed meat gets pricier around the globe.

Inghams Group Ltd flagged further price increases as it faces ongoing inflation and supply chain disruptions that have hit profits. It warned that the challenging trade environment would persist, with rising feed costs in particular pressuring operations.

The Sydney-based company reported full-year profit of A$35.1 million (US$24.1 million) in the 12 months to June 30, missing the average analyst estimate of A$43.4 million. Its shares plunged as much as 9.4% in early Sydney trading on Friday, the most since March 2020.

The company raised prices earlier this year due to the lingering effects of a national outbreak of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that snarled supply chains and caused severe labour shortages. On Friday, it cited challenges from Covid-19 disruptions, the war in Ukraine and floods in parts of Australia as continuing pressures going into 2023.

Globally, poultry is scarce as the industry is squeezed by higher input costs and labour shortages. Earlier this year, Australian consumers bemoaned a fried chicken shortage after fast-food chain KFC said suppliers had been hit by Covid-19-driven staff shortages. Japan experienced similar problems late last year at popular convenience stores, while Singapore was hit hard when neighbouring Malaysia curbed poultry exports in June to safeguard domestic supplies.