Numerous studies have affirmed that the U.S. meat and poultry industry is dynamic, competitive and responsive to the market, according to the American Meat Institute, (AMI) which represents America’s meat and poultry processors. AMI released a statement as USDA and the Department of Justice began the final in a series of workshops that have examined competition in American agriculture.

According to AMI, the structure of the industry has been stable for the past 25 years. In the 1980s, changes in the industry occurred, largely in response to new demands from consumers.

“In a consumer-oriented business such as the meat and poultry industry, you start with the customer,” says Mark Dopp, senior vice president of regulatory affairs and general counsel. “Our customers began sending strong signals that they wanted more consistent products, leaner products and niche products like natural meats or those that are free range. These demands necessitated a shift from our previous commodity mindset to a more focused, branded approach that delivers what consumers want. That’s what automakers have done. That’s what electronics manufacturers have done. And it was what our industry needed to do, too.”

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