Companies in this industry slaughter animals and prepare meat products. Major companies include Hormel Foods and Tyson Foods (both headquartered in the US); as well as Charoen Pokphand Foods (Thailand); Danish Crown (Denmark); JBS and BRF-Brasil Foods (Brazil); NH Foods (Japan); and China's WH Group, whose operations include US-based Smithfield Foods.
Demand is driven by consumer income and by exports. Because meat is largely a commodity, the profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and an effective distribution network. Large companies have big economies of scale in production and distribution. Small companies can compete effectively in a local area or by producing unique products.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products are wholesale meat parts (boxed beef or pork that will be cut or further processed); ground beef for commercial use; and case-ready items for supermarket display cases. The US industry produces about 25 billion pounds of beef products and about 25 billion pounds of pork products per year. Lamb and mutton production totals about 145 million pounds. Annual poultry production (chickens, turkeys, and ducks) is about 45 billion pounds.