2024, Volume 27, Paper 1
ISSN: 2209-6612

Market Power in the Australian Chicken Meat Industry

Pujan Dhakal – School of Agriculture, Food and Ecosystem Sciences, University of Melbourne

Garry Griffith – School of Agriculture, Food and Ecosystem Sciences, University of Melbourne


The consumption of chicken meat continues to grow in Australia, with a consumption level of almost 50 kg/person in 2022, well above that of other meat species. With this growth in recent decades have emerged come concerns about the potential dominance of the major chicken processors. There have been some structural changes in the production and processor segments of the value chain, but also new retail entrants have potentially maintained the competitive environment at the consumer end of the fresh meat market. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and other government agencies have conducted multiple investigations and legal proceedings related to competitiveness in Australian food markets, but there has been little published research into market power in the chicken market for more than a decade. In this study the New Empirical Industrial Organisational framework is applied to test for non-competitive behaviour in the chicken meat industry. Primary data from 1970 to 2017 is used. There is found to be consistent evidence of non-competitive behaviour in the purchase of the live chickens in the chicken meat value chain, but not in sales to final consumers. Future study should focus on more in-depth analysis of market power in different sectors of the value chain including the nature and consequences of the vertical integration arrangements in place in this industry.

Key words: chicken market, market power, NEIO, vertical integration

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