Jim Lochner, chief operating officer of Tyson Foods, Inc. said the amount of protein available to U.S. consumers has declined in recent years and is expected to continue declining for the foreseeable future.
Lochner made his remarks today at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2012 Global Agriculture Conference. Dennis Leatherby, Tyson's executive vice president and chief financial officer, also represented the company at the conference.
"We are operating in a different world than we were a few years ago," Lochner said. "After decades of steady growth, U.S. per capita consumption of protein declined 11 percent from the peak in 2006, a trend that is likely to continue."
Americans are eating less protein because there is less available to eat, Lochner said. Strong export demand is sending more meat and poultry overseas. In addition, he said, less protein is being produced because of the pressure on the profitability of livestock and poultry farming. As input costs have gone up, food inflation has accelerated, creating more margin shifts and disrupting the supply chain. Despite reduced protein supplies, Tyson is committed to helping its customers grow their businesses.
"Tyson has a broad portfolio of products that can help our customers grow," Lochner said. "We don't just sell meat in a box. We provide innovation and food solutions to our customers and consumers, and that is what differentiates us from our competitors."