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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Wadiak to Produce Sustainable Chicken


A recent meat industry periodical devoted inordinate significance to an interview with Matthew Wadiak and his venture to produce ‘sustainable’ chicken.  In 2012 Wadiak was a co-founder of Blue Apron.  This company has lost money every since its inception and was the subject of a recent report on quarterly performance that denoted an insecure future with either acquisition or liquidation as possible outcomes.  Wadiak is now building a new company committed to “regenerative agriculture”.  His approach is to enhance soil quality using “carefully bred and raised heirloom chickens” complying with Global Animal Partnerships Step-4 Certification.


Apparently Wadiak has acquired  $12 million in financing from Amera Capital Management to enable his company, Cooks Venture to establish broiler enterprise based on slow-growing birds.    The company has purchased a disused processing plant formerly operated by Simmons Foods in Jay, OK.  The plant is to be converted to air-chilling which is not a unique concept even in the U.S.  The intent is to attain a capacity of 700,000 birds per week, all grown on pasture.  Breeding facilities were acquired from Crystal Lake Farms previously the production facilities used to produce Peterson strain male broilers. 


Wadiak makes claims for his naked-neck birds which are probably neither valid nor commercially viable.  Target price for his product is $15 for a four-pound chicken suggesting that the market will be confined to affluent, environmentally conscious consumers.  Wadiak apparently does not consider competition from existing producers of premium and organic chickens including Bell and Evans, GNP and Fieldale Farms. Production parameters accepted for the naked-neck chicken reared on pasture suggest that unless a very high wholesale price can be obtained, with acceptable volume to offset fixed costs, enterprises based on philosophy and claims sustainability and in this case regenerative agriculture are doomed to either failure or are relegated to a small niche of the market. Wadiak’s venture may follow Blue Apron as an interesting concept but financially nonviable over the intermediate term.

Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane