Brazil’s Poultry Exports Surge: Dominance in UAE Market Continues


Brazil has witnessed a remarkable ascent in its poultry exports, steadily increasing its market share by an average of 12% from 2013 to 2023. Surpassing expectations, Brazil soared to a record-breaking 78.5% market share in 2022, setting a new milestone in the industry. Forecasts from a recent report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) suggest that Brazil’s dominance is poised to persist, with further growth on the horizon.

The stronghold of Brazilian poultry in the UAE market remains unshaken, attributed to several key factors. Industry insiders point to the appeal of preferred pack sizes, competitive pricing strategies, and the robust presence of Brazilian enterprises within the UAE. This trifecta ensures Brazil’s sustained prominence within the UAE poultry sector.

In contrast, US poultry exports to the UAE primarily consist of large super sacks containing dark meat, notably chicken leg quarters. These products are tailored to cater to migrant labor facilities and major processing plants. However, local importers lament the inherent disadvantage of super sacks compared to the more versatile smaller packaging options offered by Brazilian counterparts. Smaller packaging sizes from Brazil are adept at catering to diverse market channels, whereas super sacks are primarily suited for large-scale processing facilities.

The pricing dynamics further underscore Brazil’s ascendancy. US chicken meat prices have been driven upwards by soaring shipping costs and disruptions in production. Consequently, when prices for US leg quarters peaked at $1,200 per metric ton in the second quarter of 2023 (reaching $1,250 in April), demand began to wane. This decline in demand can be attributed to the fact that Brazilian whole chickens could be purchased for $1,500 per metric ton, rendering US offerings less competitive.

Interestingly, consumer behavior, cultural inclinations, and the preferences of low- and middle-income UAE consumers play pivotal roles in this market dynamic. Some consumers perceive the appeal of a full or half-chicken, complete with white breast meat, over a mere leg quarter, irrespective of weight or size. Consequently, when the price of US leg quarters approaches 75% of the price of a Brazilian whole chicken, demand for US chicken meat in the UAE weakens significantly.

The landscape is further shaped by the strategic presence of Brazilian-owned processing facilities within the UAE. Brazil Foods, heralded as “the world’s largest halal animal-protein company,” bolstered its competitive edge with the inauguration of a new factory at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi. Additionally, JBS, another major Brazilian poultry producer, expanded its footprint in the UAE in 2022 by acquiring two plants. These acquisitions position JBS to produce prepared foods and serve as a regional hub for halal products, further cementing Brazil’s dominance in the UAE poultry market.