10 months ago • 2 mins
US meat producer Tyson Foods reported some pretty dire quarterly results on Monday.
What does this mean?
Tyson’s business was bringing home the bacon this time last year, thanks in large part to extra-juicy meat prices – but last quarter offered slim pickings in comparison. And that stands to reason: sirloin's a luxury in this economy, after all, so cash-strapped Americans either traded down from premium cuts of meat to cheaper options or held off on buying meat altogether. To make matters worse, beef – by far Tyson’s biggest segment – saw prices drop an average of 8.5%, while the spiking price of animal feed ate into takings even further. The fallout: Tyson’s overall profit fell a tear-inducing 70%, and investors suddenly lost their appetite and knocked shares by 5%. Not quite a rib-tickling time for the firm...
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: Salad days.
It's not unusual for folk to get less carnivorous when economies stall, but this time beef demand’s being hit particularly hard in even the most meat-loving nations – like Brazil, where the latest data showed consumption on track for a record low last year. That trend’s bad news for beef producers like Tyson and JBS, especially when they're contending with herd-shrinking droughts and mounting pressure from green-minded investors – but it is good news for the planet. After all, livestock’s the main culprit when it comes to agricultural greenhouse gasses, and some measures show that farming singlehandedly emits more greenhouse gasses than the entire transport industry.
Zooming out: Having a cow.
Meat producers may have run into a bit of a rut lately, but the cruelty-free counterparts that were supposed to upend the whole industry have been faring even worse: high prices and wary consumers have given Beyond Meat and its ilk a string of disappointing results. In fact, Tyson's stock has outperformed Beyond Meat’s by over 30% in the past year, even after its own meager update.
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