Last year in this space, The National Provisioner asked, “Is the tide turning?

The answer? When you dig deeper into the numbers behind the often-misleading mainstream headlines, the business tide appears to have turned for the protein-processing industry in 2014.

It’s important to note, however, that a turned tide doesn’t mean a high tide, and it certainly hasn’t been all roses and rainbows, as our 2014 State of the Industry Report shows. Our association partners (who have again graciously contributed their insights in the following pages) warn that challenges still lurk around every corner. But the challenges of 2015 are not the same as those of 2012-2014.

Outside of California and west Texas, Mother Nature has been cooperative, with droughts and crop shortages becoming things of the past. Prices for protein are high, but consumers continue to buy. Fuel and feed prices are endurable, if not favorable. And the overall economy, while not firing on all cylinders, isn’t running on four flat tires either.

Of course, as typically happens, a wild card was thrown into the mix in the summer months — usually sending the protein industry running for cover. But the book “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet”, by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, has been met with positive reviews from a variety of mainstream publications and scientific groups.

Furthermore, at the North American Meat Association (NAMA) Outlook Conference in September, Teicholz was given a standing ovation by the meat-industry audience following her keynote presentation. After seeing decades of books published that mostly questioned or tore down its product, the industry, not surprisingly, has embraced the book.

In our annual State of the Industry report, as always, we bring readers a direct look at what issues are driving each of the protein segments heading into 2015. It is the first of our three-part Annual Recap & Forecast Series, which includes our Consumer Trends Report in November and our 2015 Economic Outlook in December. 


State of the Industry segments
Industry overview Goes live Oct. 6
Beef (NCBA) Oct. 7
Beef (CAB) Oct. 8
Pork Oct. 9
Chicken Oct. 10
Turkey Oct. 13
Veal Oct. 14
Lamb Oct. 15
Food Safety Oct. 16
Packaging Oct. 17