CHICKEN producers have cut back on volumes over the past two years as pressure on disposable incomes and strikes have forced some consumers to switch to other proteins such as polony and beans, says MD of Afgri’s foods division Izaak Breitenbach.
Estimates were that domestic poultry producers had reduced volumes by about 52-million birds a year, or 4%, over two years, as cash-strapped consumers switched to cheaper protein sources, he said.
Consumers tended to first substitute chicken for more affordable processed meats such as polony, before switching to plant proteins including beans and soya products.
Long strikes have had the trend worsen and could remove large numbers of poultry consumers for six to 12 months afterwards, requiring producers to reduce prices despite input costs rising.
Poultry producers are emerging from a difficult few years in which they have been under pressure from weak demand, soaring feed costs and competition from cheap imports.
Absa’s agricultural unit data shows that individually quick frozen (IQF) poultry products, the cheapest local product available to consumers, traded at R18.65/kg last month, reflecting a 14.4% annual increase. Whole fresh medium bird prices rose 9.3% over the same period to R22.26/kg.
South Africans refer to bologna exclusively as 'polony', although South African polony is typically made using highly-processed meat with a high pink slime concentration. These processed meat products are typically an artificially bright pink color, and are a low-income food due to their low cost. Large pink, bland polonies are called French Polony , with thinner rolls referred to simply as polony. Garlic Polony is also widely available.
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