Vermont Food System Plan Product Brief: Poultry

The United States poultry meat industry is one of the most concentrated in the food system, with four poultry companies controlling 60% of the market. Vermont’s poultry meat producers compete against industrial poultry prices, and consumer price tolerance is a limit for growth in this field, especially for organic poultry (given high organic feed costs). Added production costs, spatial limitations, and slaughtering considerations present a challenge for Vermont poultry farms who wish to scale up production to meet customer demand beyond their limited direct markets. However, poultry is an enterprise that could pivot with relative ease and help fill gaps in national supply chains as food system vulnerabilities become apparent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaboration between producers, processors, lawmakers, and policymakers is needed to take advantage of these gaps, close grey areas in packaging claims, and get Vermont’s small-scale poultry producers into regional and metropolitan markets.

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