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Renita Jablonski: Food prices are higher overall, but the cost of meat actually hasn’t risen too much. Chicken in particular has remained close to what it cost last year. But that doesn’t mean chicken producers aren’t trying to raise prices. Ashley Milne-Tyte explains.
Ashley Milne-Tyte: A pound of boneless chicken breasts has gone up about 1 percent in the last year. Compare that to 16 percent for bread and 23 percent for milk. Richard Lobb of the National Chicken Council says producers would love to hike prices.
Richard Lobb: The cost of feed ingredients has more than doubled since the fall of 2006. And it’s just, it’s the largest uncontrollable cost that companies have, and they’re just having a very hard time passing that cost along.
He says powerful supermarket chains won’t agree to big increases in poultry prices. Powerful fast food chains are making the most of cheap chicken as well. On May 15, McDonald’s will give away its new breakfast chicken sandwich. But David Henkes of food industry consulting group Technomic says it’s more about marketing than cost.
David Henkes: That and it’s a little bit more of a strategic focus on building traffic and building some incremental sales.
Even if the price of chicken goes up, he says, fast food joints will keep pushing poultry products because they’re popular.
I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.
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