Tyson Foods Inc. told investors at the BMO Capital Markets 2011 Farm to Market Conference that sales of chicken, beef and pork improved in the past two weeks as the weather turned warm. Donnie Smith, Tyson's president and CEO, and Noel White, senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats, were presenters at the conference.

"We are happy with the improvement in demand we've seen following a cold, wet April," Smith said. Because beef and pork pricing are strong, many retailers and food service operators are likely to feature chicken this summer, he added.

According to White, a key factor driving price is the amount of protein available to U.S. consumers. According to USDA figures, protein supply has declined the past three years and is projected to decline again in 2011 – an unusual trend. Strong exports have contributed to that trend.

"Exports, along with production efficiencies and value-added programs, are driving our earnings," White said. Going forward, he does not see major changes in the solid fundamentals of beef and pork. "The outlook is bright," he concluded.

Source: Tyson Foods Inc.