Poultry & Meat

CPF Expects no Threat from China Bird Flu; Debuts Benja Chicken

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Bangkok-headquartered Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) anticipates no threat to its operations from the outbreak of potent H5N1 bird flu in China, maintaining 2020 sales targets on expectation that the PRC government “has immense experiences to quickly tackle the outbreak.”

Prasit Boondoungprasert, chief executive officer of CPF, said that the outbreak in Shaoyang City, Hunan Province has so far had no impact on CPF’s chicken business in China, which contributes about 2% of the company’s total sales.

He added that he PRC has dealt with bird flu epidemics for more than 10 years now, and the government “sits on deep experience.” Vaccination has been allowed while other preventive measures are in place, aside from international-standard elimination of dead birds.

Prasit said that opportunities for chicken meat exports from Thailand to China remain huge, thanks to the continuous increase in demand. In 2019, Thailand exported 70,000 tons of chicken meat to the PRC and the volume is expected to jump to 150,000 tons in 2020 as more Thai chicken processing plants are expecting licenses.

Unrelated Report from Hubei

In other news on the poultry front, Reuters has reported that poultry farmers in Hubei Province, center of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak, are culling young birds to comply with new regulations impacting transport, feed supply and slaughterhouses recently instigated in an attempt to contain the pneumonia-like disease that has been attributed to the deaths of at least 427 people and infected 20,492 across China during the last few weeks.

The news agency quoted an official at the Hubei Poultry Association has saying some farmers are coping with halved rations of depleted feedstocks for their birds, while others disposed of the chicks.

“So many young birds were safely disposed of,” said the official, while not specifying the number and declining to be identified, as he is not allowed to talk to media.

This issue does not have a bearing on CPF poultry activities in China. CEO Prasit asserts that not only is its chicken business intact in china, but the company is witnessing an improvement in the swine business thanks to high pig prices – especially in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. This is a factor that will allow the company to achieve its 2020 sale target of about Bt600,000 million.

Benja Chicken at Alibaba’s Hema Supermarket

Meanwhile CPF, in cooperation with Chia Tai Group in China and Alibaba’s Hema Supermarket, last month introduced U Farm-branded Benja Chicken to Chinese consumers, making the premium frozen chicken meat the first from Thailand on the shelves of over 30 Hema outlets across Beijing.

CPF Senior Vice President Karan Sangfai said that Benja Chicken is providing Chinese consumers with a new eating experience, as it is the world’s first 100% brown rice-fed chicken and antibiotics-free.

“CPF put a lot of efforts in the research and development to make Benja Chicken the best chicken meat for health-conscious families,” said Karan. “It boasts a good taste and food safety, under our concept ‘Put Our Heart Into Food.’ We are dedicated to find innovations that can produce best quality food for consumers across the world.”

Distribution of the product will later expand from 30 Hema outlets in Beijing to 70 outlets Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as Beijing. Also, later this year online marketing channels through leading e-commerce websites JD.com and Tmall.com will be introduced. Annualized sale revenue is expected to hit Bt20 million.

Last year, U Farm introduced Benja Chicken in Hong Kong at Wellcome and Aeon supermarkets. Singapore was the next destination. The chicken is available at FairPrice Finest and Alma by Juan Amador, a Michelin-rated restaurant.

Benja Chicken boasts 100% natural premium chicken meat. It is fed by specially selected brown rice that contains high GABA and antioxidants, as well as vitamins B3, B6 and B9. Its meat is soft. Unlike conventional multi-layered chicken meat, Benja Chicken has spiraling meat structure. Reportedly 55% more tasty and juicy, the NSF International-certified product is free from antibiotics and growth hormones.

Alibaba’s Hema Supermarket operates 200 outlets in major cities in China that specialize in imported high-quality goods and engage in integrate online and offline marketing. Customers are offered 30-minute delivery services to destinations within a three-kilometer radius of its stores.