Feed Strategy Editor Jackie Roembke breaks down the newly released 2021 Top Feed Companies ranking report
PODCAST: 2021 World’s Top Feed Companies recap (06:27)
Ann Reus: Hello and welcome to the Feed Strategy podcast. I’m your host, Feed Strategy staff reporter Ann Reus. Joining me once again today is Feed Strategy Editor Jackie Roembke, and she’s here to talk about Feed Strategy’s 2021 Top Feed Companies ranking report. Hi Jackie, welcome back to the podcast.
Roembke: Hi, Ann. Thanks for having me.
Reus: So, there are 11 more companies listed in this year’s Top Feed Company rankings than last year’s. Tell me about the factors that contributed to the expanded listing.
Roembke: Thanks, Ann. Yeah, that’s a great question. This year, the Top Feed Companies report featured 140 companies. And, like you said, that’s 11 more than in 2020, but 16 of those were new to the listing – and several that appeared in 2019 edition were removed. The main reason: Our research team found, or now has access to, new or additional information. So, the Top Feed Companies database and report is an ongoing effort. Our exclusive Top Feed Companies database is constantly updated. Again, the goal is to track companies producing compound feed volumes over 1 million metric tons in the previous calendar year. This provides more reliable information based on annual reports and other sources. We also keep an eye on upcoming prospects hovering near the 1-million-metric-tons point because we’ve seen companies cross over since WATT began producing the report nearly a decade ago.
For those who may not know, the Top Feed Companies database is housed on FeedStrategy.com and features the latest news and data points on more than 200 global feed companies. Our master ranking table, the one that appears in the July/August issue of Feed Strategy, is generated from this database.
Reus: What regions and specific countries are among the world’s largest feed producers?
Roembke: From a regional perspective, many of the firms featured in this year’s listing are headquartered in Asia, 52 companies in fact, and in Europe, which accounted for 33. However, not very far behind, 29 of the companies on this listing are located in North America. In 2020, we decided to include poultry integrators in the listing, which expanded the representation of U.S. companies. Kind of related, I should also mention that the 2021 Top Feed Companies listing featured its first Central American company, at No. 123 — CMI Alimentos located in Honduras.
Reus: What are some of the companies that saw notable changes in their rankings from 2019 and why did they see such big swings?
Roembke: Again, some changes are the result of newly discovered information or amendments. For example, in 2021, WATT’s research team combined JBS S.A. and Pilgrim’s Pride’s feed production volumes to reflect the company’s total tonnage. Why? JBS USA, owned by JBS S.A., is a majority shareholder of Pilgrim’s Pride, which is the second largest poultry company in the United States. So, this amendment moved JBS S.A. up from No. 41 to the No. 7 position.
Several other companies made notable jumps compared to their 2019 rankings. Based on new data, China’s Muyuan Foodstuff jumped from No. 52 to No. 30; Anyou Biotechnology Group Co. assumed the No. 53 slot from No. 84; U.S. chicken integrator Sanderson Farms moved from No. 32 to No. 27; Ukrainian poultry producer MHP took No. 60, up from No. 78; and Colombia’s Italcol moved from No. 120 last year to No. 77 this year.
So, a handful of companies did see significant drops in their ranking. Sometimes you do have to speculate about what causes these swings, but we do know that, in Asia, some companies saw a slight increase in production due to African swine fever – attributed to both restocking efforts last year and increased demand for poultry and aquafeed.
Reus: Now, 2020 was a challenging year. Was that reflected in the feed production numbers generally, or were companies still able to achieve growth in production volumes?
Roembke: I believe so. As you saw, so many facets of consumer behavior shifted due to the COVID crisis, and animal protein preferences and demand went with it. Obviously, packing plants dealt with bottleneck issues early on. So, yeah, I think it had a very real effect and I think we’ll have a better idea of how much things have changed – or returned to normal – once we’re able to compare 2019, 2020 and 2021 data next year.
Reus: Now, you always highlight the companies that almost made it in the rankings. Why are those companies important to watch?
Roembke: Well, aside from the market insights you can uncover, I enjoy watching companies move up to the master listing. I think that, in time, we’ll see other macro factors influence which of those feed producers make the jump, or get acquired or fall off all together.
Reus: What surprised you the most about the 2021 Top Feed Companies ranking report?
Roembke: This year, I think global industry’s resilience in the face of very real, very serious challenges was the biggest surprise. And whether it’s a disease – animal or human – or related to commodity price volatility, you see these large companies weather those storms to continue to feed people, poultry and livestock. So, to answer your question, I’m always surprised to see how little change in production occurs for most companies overall, despite what the industry is up against in a given year.
Reus: Well, thank you for all those great insights, Jackie. You can find the complete rankings and more about the World’s Top Feed Companies in the July-August issue of Feed Strategy, available now at FeedStrategy.com, where you can also check out the full Top Feed Companies database.