Tyson Foods To Raise Prices "Substantially"

Eat that chicken and your wallet takes a lickin. The CEO of Tyson Foods, makers of fine chicken, beef, and pork products, said in a conference call yesterday, “We have no other choice but to raise prices substantially…We are raising prices because we can’t absorb these costs. Despite concerns about the economy, people have to eat, and they will continue to eat protein.” 2008, the year of tightening wallets… and belts?

Tyson Foods To Raise Prices As Profit Suffers [Dow Jones]


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  1. bohemian says:

    Yea this is great. Everyone is raising prices. That is sure to help the struggling economy. Guess I will have to eat less meat or buy more from local farmers. If it is going to be expensive I might as well get something decent for the price.

  2. Tux the Penguin says:

    @bohemian: Your local farmers are going to have the same problem. Corn, the primary feed for chicken has been increasing dramatically because so much of it is now going to make our fuel. Take a look at the prices for pretty much any meat (chicken, turkey, beef, pork) and they have been rising because the cost of production, namely feed, has been increasing as well. My grandfather who has a small chicken coup on his farm, has decided that he’ll not buy any more. He’ll eventually eat those he has, and then he’s done.

  3. viqas says:

    I guess its time to stock up on chicken for the year (;

  4. Jon Mason says:

    “people have to eat, and they will continue to eat protein.” Well yeah I will still buy chicken, but not from Tyson if they raise prices ‘substantially’ and their competitors don’t.

  5. Beerad says:

    Frankly, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if Americans ate less meat.


  6. Sportyboard says:

    Looks like I’ll be eating a lot more peanut butter.

  7. Corydon says:

    “people have to eat, and they will continue to eat protein.”

    This is true. However, the source of that protein doesn’t have to be meat. Actually, this could turn out to be good news for the American diet in the long run if it ends up driving more people to beans, nuts, peas and soy for their protein.

  8. darkened says:

    No thanks, I’ll keep eating my chicken and beef. If not I’ll resort to some form of hunting or else starvation. I am a carnivore.

  9. HRHKingFriday says:

    Does anyone really think people living below the poverty line (white, black, whatever) are all of the sudden going to trade in their fried chicken and big macs for beans and soy? I mean, it would be wonderful for their health, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people would run up their credit cards or go to walmart before they even touch tofu.

  10. jollymonjeff says:

    Don’t we still pay farmers NOT to grow certain crops, like corn and wheat? The US has a rediculous capacity for agriculture, but we subsidize farmers. And not just the little guys, but the corporate giants that make up 90+% of farms.

  11. @Tux the Penguin: your grandfather has a chicken coup? are the chickens rising up against him?!? i think you meant coop.

  12. ptkdude says:

    @Tux the Penguin: I hope those chickens didn’t hurt anyone when they overthrew your grandfather!

  13. surfacenoise76 says:

    Since when is Tyson Foods a maker of “fine” meat products?

  14. PaulMorel says:

    I think that people WILL turn to vegetarian lifestyles if the economy demands it. Desperately poor people rarely eat meat in the first place. Single parents rely on mostly starches and grains to feed their families. Switching to strictly PB&J for children’s lunches, and cutting out chicken once a week is really not that big of a stretch …

    It will vary though. Certainly, there are people who would rather die than give up meat, but in certain areas and certain communities, I don’t think it would be much of an issue.

  15. Balisong says:

    Oh great, my family’s already resorted to eating nothing but chicken to try and save money >_<

    And here come the no-meat arguments. People, I am skinny and hungry with a light-speed metabolism, and meat is filling. I am not going to stop eating it.

  16. youbastid says:

    The only reason I every buy Tyson is if it’s significantly cheaper than the store brand (i.e. on sale)…That crap is loaded up with water – I think the last time I bought a bag of frozen chicken breasts they were injected with 22% water – the things were massive, but every time I defrosted a breast it was sitting in a huge puddle, and they’d be tiny once I cooked them.
    This is just another reason for me to make the trek to Trader Joe’s for meat. Higher quality, same weight, same price, no chicken water.

  17. Randy says:

    Good time to evaluate a vegan diet! ;) Certainly cheaper, heh.

  18. HRHKingFriday says:

    @PaulMorel: True, but that kind of “vegetarian” lifestyle is no better, if not more prone to obesity, than eating meat. It would take at least half a small jar of peanut butter to get your daily protein allowance. I suppose there will always be a dollar menu though.

  19. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    I am addicted to the Tyson chicken patties. They typically run $3.99 for a box of four, which is a bit high, but they are very good. That’s usually the item I splurge on.

    I am a decent cook, so I just buy whatever meat is on sale that week (chicken, beef, pork) and then plan my meals around it.

    Tyson, or any already prepared cut up chicken breasts are pretty expensive anyways. I hardly ever buy the Tyson ones, but when the regular brands are on sale I stock up.

    I have found buying a rice cooker and a wok saves me a lot of money. It stretches my food dollar as I don’t just eat meat, but fill up on rice and whatever vegetables I through in there.

    I am pretty much a carnivore, but if you cook rice in low sodium chicken broth and throw in some kidney beans, it makes for a very healthy, tasty and filling dish.

  20. Corydon says:

    @darkened: I’m not a die-hard vegan or even a vegetarian. Eat whatever you want if you can afford it.

    Personally, I tend not to eat meat every day of the week. It saves on the grocery bill, helps me control my weight, and seems to be healthier (at least my doctor thinks so).

    The other benefit is that when I do eat meat, I tend to buy good quality stuff (not only healthier but tastes much better too). I’d much rather have a high-quality steak right off the grill once a week than 7 days worth of suspicious hamburger from the likes of Tyson.

  21. howie_in_az says:

    Clearly the only inexpensive choice left for meat-eaters is cannibalism.

    Fyi some people may want to try out the Morningstar Farms line of vegetarian “meatish” products — their Grillers Prime are quite tasty, as are their Chik’n Patties (the Parmesan Ranch ones especially), Chik’n nuggets, etc.

  22. I’ve definitely noticed the buffalo meat is looking better in price by comparison to regular beef these days … because the buffalo are grass-fed so THEIR feed costs haven’t risen (much. I’ve read that the cost of hay has gone through the roof, but you only need that in certain seasons). I love buffalo meat to begin with, and it’s healthier than beef, so I guess that’s one more incentive to keep me eating those tasty tasty buffalo.

  23. @public enemy #1: “Tyson, or any already prepared cut up chicken breasts are pretty expensive anyways.”

    Yeah, chicken got a lot cheaper when I learned how to buy whole chickens and cut them up, lol.

  24. jdjonsson says:

    This is what the rising cost of oil is doing. It’s been going up for years, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Don’t be surprised if we do go into a recession.

  25. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Every time I buy a chicken and think this is the time I cut it up easily, I always screw it up. The wings come off, and then when I do the drumsticks, I can’t seem to find the joints.

    I remember when whole chickens used to be 0.49 cents a pound when on sale, now usually, they are about 1.29 a pound.

  26. Jasmo says:

    The world won’t end if we don’t eat meat at every meal. In fact, it may well help the world not end.

  27. theblackdog says:

    No more buying their buffalo tenders then, unless Costco can keep the price increase down :-)

    Actually this won’t affect me much, I only buy meat when it’s on sale. Maybe I’ll try the vegetarian stuff if it ends up being the cheaper price, but otherwise I’ll just add more veggies to my plate.

  28. savvy999 says:

    This is proof perfect that that it is now actually profitable for producers to grow corn. I hope the insane farm subsidies go away as a result.

    Eyebrows, I agree, cutting up a chicken is fun and very economical. The first dozen or so I hacked to disgusting bits, but now I can carve one into beautiful portions, as good or better than the store. Fry or bake or grill the parts, use the back carcass for soup broth. 3 whole meals for like $5 (+ sides).

  29. friendlynerd says:

    Looks like my diet will be switching entirely to Top Ramen and Rap Snacks

  30. @public enemy #1: I don’t do it very well yet either — half the time I just roast the whole chicken and *then* cut it up (you can still use the bones and bits for soup) — but I’m getting better. And even if you do it ugly, it’s still much cheaper.

  31. GearheadGeek says:

    @darkened: Eat whatever you want. Tell yourself any story you want, but unless you’re not human, you’re an omnivore.

  32. SadSam says:

    Based on my own experience, being a healthy vegetarian (fruits, veggies, soy based products) costs more than eating a healthy diet that includes meats. I’m sure if you switched to beans and rice and rice and beans one could reduce the grocery bill.

  33. savvy999 says:

    @public enemy #1: Hard to put into words… just use a very sharp knife and pull the drumstick away from the body firmly while making light half-moon cuts. Eventually the joint will crack, then cut the inner tendon and cut the meat on other side around it and it will pull free and look like a real drummie.

    mmmmm… it’s lunchtime, and all I have is freakin’ fruit and yogurt today :(

  34. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    Looks like more ground beef for me! But seriously, this is bad.

  35. joemono says:

    Reminds me of that Tuna commercial from Mr. Mom.

  36. GearheadGeek says:

    re: cutting up chicken: Yeah, it’s necessary to cut up raw chicken sometimes if you want a particular dish (fried chicken, e.g.) but an easy way to cook it is to roast the whole thing, esp. in a dutch oven with a bit of liquid at the bottom… you get crackly roast chicken skin on the top part but the meat is soft and moist, and COOKED chicken cuts up very easily. Mmmm… I know what I’m having for dinner now. ;)

  37. firesign says:

    fuel prices keep rising. power cost to run processing plants and farms goes up. the cost of transporting food goes up. power costs for operation of wholesale warehouses and stores large and small goes up. on an on and on. these increases get passed on to the consumer. why is anyone surprised? it’s not just chicken, increasing energy costs are driving up the cost of *all* food.

  38. Antediluvian says:

    @Tux the Penguin: See, the Glorious Chicken Rebellion will finally throw off the shackles of the evil overlords, but will raise prices for the proles.

    Eh, it’s a tradeoff.

    And I’m sure my chickens are plotting their own coup as I write this, but I’m prepared for it.

  39. if you’ve eaten enough in a day so you aren’t hungry (provided you eat more than fritos and sour patch kids) you will get enough protein. everywhere you turn you are suckin’ down protein. for example, those HUGE bagels we all suck down at breakfast, most have anywhere between 2 – 5+ grams of protein per serving and a half pound bagel counts for more than a single serving and the same goes for most grains. toss in beans and veggies and your golden. if you go the beef route, watch out for the cloned ones…

  40. Buran says:

    No, Tyson, people will go elsewhere or eat something else. There’s less money in peoples’ wallets. You raise prices when people can afford to pay you. If the money JUST ISN’T THERE, you’re trying to get water from a stone.

  41. SeraSera says:

    Trader Joe’s and Costco, here I come.

  42. SkyeBlue says:

    Last week one of our local markets had cut-up chickens for close to $7.00 a package! I’ve gotten to now where I try and only buy meat when I see it marked down.

    What costs can’t they “absorb”? Executive bonuses not running in the 8 figures this year?

  43. kimsama says:

    Isn’t one of the food principles in Omnivore’s Dilemma the fact that you pay now or pay later? Meat’s more expensive than veggies because it takes more energy to grow. Mass-produced (i.e. factory farmed) meat is (/was) artificially cheap, because you’re not paying the real costs of raising it. Those are dumped on the people/communities that have to deal with the big costs from the negative externalities, like high pollution (manure and e. Coli poisoning), antibiotic-resistant bugs, hormones in the food supply (higher medical costs), etc which all add up to paying, but paying later, which makes the meat seem cheap.

    Those negative externalities didn’t exist for small grass-based farmers, but you had to pay a large price because you were paying the real energy cost of growing the meat (paying now).

    Frankly, it just looks like the high price of oil is changing the equation. People are starting to have to pay more now (haha, but still with all the negative externalities of the factory farms).

    The real price for meat is probably more in line with what you pay at a farm for actual non-factory meat. Rising oil costs are going to be the end to inexpensive meat and bring them closer to this higher price point. Probably a good thing for Americans, because we tend to eat too much of the stuff, anyway (the NYT article someone posted above is good — we all tend to drastically overestimate how much protein we really need).

  44. kimsama says:

    @kimsama: P.S. I should mention I’m not a vegetarian (I likes my meat). I just don’t eat much of it, because I buy the grass-fed stuff and that shit’s expensive.

  45. coss3n says:

    Well thank God we’re pushing corn-based ethanol so hard in this country. It would really suck if farmers didn’t convert their acreage over to producing a fuel that nobody wants, in turn driving up the price of animal feedstock and thus meat and dairy prices right at a time when our budgets are being stretched anyway.

    Of course Tyson is going to raise prices, as will their competitors. As have the milk producers. As have the beer brewers (by far the worst!). Be sure to write in and thank your congressman.

  46. consumersaur says:

    If you seriously think the masses are going to change their eating habits because one company’s chicken breasts go up in price — you have your head in the sand. Wishful thinking from the vegan folks, I’m afraid.

  47. I don’t mind paying more as long as they stop pumping up the weight with water and other junk.

  48. Mom2Talavera says:

    consuming less meat + consuming more non-animal protein sources
    =lower national health care bill.

  49. remusrm says:

    who gets food from this peeps. didn’t they just recall bunch of meat?

  50. holocron says:

    I heard Soylent Green is pretty low cost…once they start producing it.

  51. upokyin says:

    Birds of England, birds of Ireland,
    Birds of every land and clime,
    Hearken to my joyful tidings
    Of the golden future time…

  52. DXDawg says:

    @pepe the king prawn:

    Maybe he meant “coupe?”

  53. mackensie says:

    I don’t suppose the Tyson CEO could take a little less than the $24.6 million he got last year.


  54. jeff303 says:

    @kimsama: Grassfed is definitely the answer here. The big problem is the industrial food distribution network is not set up for this type of farming. In fact some of the most prolific farmers in this area (ex: Joel Salatin) refuse to distribute their product far away from their farms. And not everyone will be close to a local producer.

    And just to clarify… the energy costs aren’t more (only energy input is the sun), but they do cost more at the market due to artificially cheap alternatives. Feedlot meat was cheap because oil (required to grow corn to feed the animals) was relatively cheap. Now that this situation is changing and the commodity prices are starting to change from bottom to top, we are seeing the effects, such as in this article.

  55. jeff303 says:

    @rainmkr: And please, everyone claiming that eating naturally raised meat is unhealthy, please cite something, anything.

  56. meanwalrus18 says:

    @bohemian: Your local farmers are going to have the same problem. Corn, the primary feed for chicken has been increasing dramatically because so much of it is now going to make our fuel.

    corn isn’t even digested by cows that well, corn is a crap product. corn is the problem, and farm subsidies that force us to use it by making high fructose corn syrup and causing sooo much obesity

  57. thesupreme1 says:

    I am cry =(
    I need my protein, as I like to lift weights…

  58. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @HRHKingFriday: Beans are a big component in the foods that a lot of poor people eat — beans and rice being the obvious example. You can find variations on beans and rice in all sorts of cultures.

    As for soy, it’s not like tofu is that great for you anyway, or that cheap (at least in my area), so poor people are probably better off staying away from it.

  59. aaronw1 says:

    I just praise the man that invented the boneless skinless chicken breasts every day.

  60. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I see many nights ahead eating ramen, Kraft dinner, grilled cheese, and peanut butter sandwiches.

    It’ll be just like a second childhood!

  61. kimsama says:

    @jeff303: I agree, but I’m a little confused — yes, all energy on earth comes from the sun, but buying meat from local grass-fed = not paying more for the oil used in factory farms (transportation of the Monsanto frankencorn), which means that the energy cost is more for factory meat. The difference in price (cheaper for factory) does indeed come from externalities, so I do agree with you on all else.

    Also, I agree that not everyone lives close to a farm. The sad thing is that the current system of having cows in one state, pigs in another, soy over there, and corn over here, all separated out, and people in yet another far away place is just not working well.

    @meanwalrus18: I am scared of how pervasive corn is.

    @CumaeanSibyl: Agreed, tofu is not a panacea. It’s got some weird estrogen-like compounds (when it’s not fermented). Though it is probably safe for occasional consumption (a la in Asia, where most of my relatives don’t eat it every day like some Americans I know).

  62. modenastradale says:


    No, that’s not right. Eating until you feel sated may provide you sufficient protein to avoid internal organ damage, hair loss, death, etc. — but it’s definitely NOT enough protein if you are concerned about having a lean body.

    The fact is, the vast majority of foods are made up mostly of refined carbohydrates and fats, neither of which are especially healthy or good for fitness purposes. If chicken, one of the most complete, leanest, and most healthful proteins around, becomes so expensive that Americans reduce their consumption, diet-related diseases will probably only worsen.

    Beans and nuts are vastly inferior protein sources. Yes, they contain some protein. But it’s “incomplete” protein, so it doesn’t provide all of the necessary amino acids. Further, nuts contain far too much fat to be useful as a protein source, while most beans contain too many carbs… as well as enough fibers and resistant starches to cause digestive issues. :-(

    Finally, soy is an incomplete protein and is loaded up with phytoestrogens — most men probably shouldn’t go overboard on it.

  63. GearheadGeek says:

    @modenastradale: Yes, we’re omnivores for a reason, we should eat SOME animal proteins, just not nearly as much as Americans typically do.

  64. ChuckECheese says:

    Maybe it was a chicken “koop,” you know, that acid-jazz band from Sweden with chickens in it?

  65. dantsea says:

    Yeah. That “substantial” price increase will last just as long as it takes a buyer at Walmart to tell Tyson what they’re willing to pay wholesale for those processed parts. I wonder what a company possibly losing access to the world’s largest retailer would do.

  66. dantsea says:

    PS Walmart is evil.

  67. Erwos says:

    @howie_in_az: I’m a fan of the morningstar farms “green boxes”, too. They’re not exactly the lowest calorie stuff out there, but they taste reasonably good and are definitely healthier than the real thing.

    I use them for a different reason, though, because I keep kosher. And, for that reason, I laugh at most of the belly-aching here about Tyson’s raising their prices. If I could pay $7 for a whole kosher chicken, I’d be saving a really nice chunk of change. You’d also be blown away by how much we spend for cheese.

    And, you know what? When those prices go up (which they’re already doing), we’ll buy less (which we’re already doing). You don’t need this stuff to survive – it’s a luxury. If you need protein, there’s always canned tuna fish (which tastes good if you don’t get that awful chunk light trash).

    That’s why I don’t panic when I hear about “consumers cutting their food budgets”. There’s a lot of room in the average food budget to do some tightening. By planning our purchases (using PeaPod and Safeway’s services) and reconsidering what we really needed, we managed to save quite a bit from that area without really sacrificing anything.

  68. reznicek111 says:

    I’m dating myself, but this reminds me of those “meal stretcher” products from the early 70’s Recession? Can’t recall the brands/names off-hand, but most of them consisted of packets of ground textured vegetable protein, MSG, and spices you’d mix in with ground beef to stretch your meat budget and feed your family more meatloaf and burgers on a thin dime.

    When times were tight my mom cooked those a few times, but I remember them being pretty vile: I’d rather have fewer real beef burgers than a chewy, flavor-enhanced unconvincing mix of TVP and ground chuck.

  69. Trick says:


    Does anyone really think people living below the poverty line (white, black, whatever) are all of the sudden going to trade in their fried chicken and big macs for beans and soy? I mean, it would be wonderful for their health, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people would run up their credit cards or go to walmart before they even touch tofu.

    I don’t eat fried chicken and I don’t eat Big Macs. Many people don’t. And just like me, many people don’t eat tofu. Nice attempt to gain a couple of new vegans here but it is not going to work, as usual.

    Nobody even knows how much the price of chicken is going up but yet. Chicken is so cheap right now if it went up 50% it probably wouldn’t hurt as many people as the doomsayers whine about.

    I will gladly pay a little more over taking a unhealthy life style where I’m pale, fragile and sick because some pansy crys if I eat a freaking steak.

  70. Mom2Talavera says:

    People don’t seem to be concerned with their health till its too late. They don’t have enough foresight.

    We need to educate people and show them that what they eat now will affect their health later.