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November 15, 2021 11:30 AM, EST

Tyson Foods’ Earnings Beat Estimates on Soaring Meat Prices

Tyson Foods’ Earnings Beat Estimates on Soaring Meat Prices A truck hauls a Tyson Foods trailer on I-65 in Sellersburg, Ind. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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Tyson Foods Inc., the top U.S. meat company by sales, reported better-than-expected earnings as surging prices for beef and chicken helped to offset a decline in volumes amid a tight labor market.

Beef prices were up by a third, while pork climbed 38% and chicken rose 19% in the fiscal fourth quarter, Tyson said Nov. 15 in a statement. Sales volumes dropped, with the decline partially tied to one fewer week in the period compared with 2020.

Demand for meat has remained strong even as higher costs including labor and freight add to an inflationary environment that’s making every plate of food more expensive. Protein producers including Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson have struggled to find enough workers to staff facilities, and the labor shortages mean consumers are expected to continue paying elevated prices. Tyson’s results follow record earnings reported last week by rival JBS SA.

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“We delivered a record performance in our beef segment and experienced share gains in our retail core business lines,” CEO Donnie King said in the statement.

Tyson said it expects chicken production to increase slightly in the next fiscal year, while output of beef and pork will decline. With meat markets likely to remain tight, margins for Tyson are projected to stay high. The company also said it was implementing a productivity program that will allow it to save $1 billion by 2024.

Tyson Foods is ranked No. 9 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of private carriers in North America.

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