Springdale, Ark. – September 8, 2021 – Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) categorically rejects the conclusions drawn earlier today by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Director of the National Economic Council in a White House press briefing.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published a report detailing the drivers of consumer inflation in the food sector, none of which are related to industry consolidation or scale. The report can be found by clicking here.
Increase in Beef Prices due to Unprecedented Market Conditions
As we have explained in great detail to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, in testimony provided in August 2021, which can be accessed by clicking here, the increase in the price of beef, in particular, is due to unprecedented market conditions.
Multiple, unprecedented market shocks, including a global pandemic and severe weather conditions, led to an unexpected and drastic drop in meat processors’ abilities to operate at full capacity. This led to an oversupply of live cattle and an undersupply of beef, while demand for beef products was at an all-time high. So, as a result, the price for cattle fell, while the price for beef rose. Today, prices paid to cattle producers are rising.
Labor shortages – the inability of the industry to adequately staff its plants – has exacerbated the situation. Labor shortages are also affecting the nation’s pork and poultry supply.
Tyson Foods today pays its frontline workers an average of $22 per hour, including full medical benefits; we recently announced additional paid sick leave and vacation benefits starting in 2022. The company is also piloting childcare programs and providing access to vaccinations for all of its U.S. workers.
Inaccurate Claims of Consolidation Impact
It is inaccurate to suggest that consolidation in the meat processing industry is leading to higher prices for consumers. In fact, evidence of healthy competition can also be found by looking at historical outcomes. For example, we have seen a rise in availability and quality of beef, while the price has become more affordable over the past quarter-century: data shows that while the concentration of the industry has remained relatively constant for close to 30 years, quality has significantly improved.
Furthermore, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture table below clearly illustrates, the historical ratios of margins of cow and calf producers and feeders versus processors, including Tyson, show that cow and calf and feeder margins outpace processor margins in almost every year except the most recent.
Table: USDA Data - historical ratios of margins of cow and calf producers and feeders versus processors, including Tyson
Scale Allows for Efficiency, Leading to Lower Prices for American Families
Tyson’s scale allows it to operate efficiently, which keeps costs down for consumers. At Tyson, we rely on independent farmers and want them to succeed, because without a steady pipeline of livestock, we can’t run our business. In rural communities across America, every year, we invest more than $15 billion with 11,000 independent farms supplying us with cattle, hogs and chickens.
Tyson Foods is committed to working with the Administration, the U.S. Congress and others to find ways to better feed this growing country – and keep consumer prices affordable. We welcome a deeper discussion on all of the issues raised today.
About Tyson Foods, Inc.
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp®, and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 139,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit TYSONFOODS.COM to learn more.
Media Contact: Gary Mickelson, 479-236-9022