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Gateway to poultry production and products

Products and processing

Poultry meat and eggs are among the animal-source foods most widely eaten at global level, across greatly diverse cultures, traditions and religions. Consumption of poultry meat and eggs – and of animal-source foods in general – has increased rapidly in past decades. Growing demand has mostly been driven by population growth, urbanization and rising incomes in developing countries. Chicken dominates meat consumption as it is generally affordable, low in fat and faces few religious and cultural barriers.

Demand for poultry meat and eggs is expected to continue increasing due to population growth and rising individual consumption. The market for poultry meat is projected to increase regardless of region or income level, with per capita growth slightly higher in developing than in developed regions.

Poultry meat and eggs contribute to human nutrition by providing high-quality protein and low levels of fat, with a desirable fatty acid profile. Urban and peri-urban dwellers generally eat poultry raised in intensive systems, either locally produced or imported, but niche markets exist for indigenous poultry and poultry products. In rural areas of developing counties, most households consume meat and eggs from their own, usually small, flocks of indigenous birds.

Meat and eggs are not the only important poultry products. A significant by-product is manure, which has robust economic value, whether sold or directly applied to crops by farmers. Down and feathers can also be sold. In mixed farming systems, other products such as egg shells can be fed to other farm animals (e.g. pigs).

Did you know?

  • Since the early 1960s, global per capita consumption of eggs has almost doubled, while poultry meat consumption has increased fivefold. The highest growth has occurred in Asia and Latin America.
  • Between 2000 and 2030, per capita demand for poultry meat is projected to increase by 271 percent in South Asia, 116 percent in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 97 percent in the Middle East and North Africa and 91 percent in East Asia and the Pacific.
  • Poultry is the world’s primary source of animal protein, followed by pork.
  • Meat and eggs from indigenous poultry differ in appearance and taste from commercial poultry products, and are often preferred by consumers. For example, eggs from indigenous hens are considerably smaller than eggs from commercial layers (usually weighing over 50 percent less) and may have specific qualities. For instance, the Fayoumi breed, originally from Egypt, lays small eggs with a large yolk.