Marketing Opportunities of Conventional vs. GMO...

Marketing Opportunities of Conventional vs. GMO-free Broilers

Marketing Opportunities of Conventional vs. GMO-free Broilers


The Challenge

Jared Pruch received numerous requests from his farmers’ market customers in Oregon to produce GMO-free poultry products. Phoenix Farm Enterprises produces pastured chicken, duck, and turkey. However, Pruch was uncertain of the economic viability of raising poultry with GMO-free feed. In order to determine the potential for his operation and other local poultry farmers, he conducted a cost-comparison study between raising Cornish cross broiler chickens on locally sourced, GMO-free feed versus conventional feed to answer three questions:

  1. Given a standardized ration and environmental conditions, what is the input cost comparison between GMO-free and conventional feed to raise Cornish cross broilers?
  2. Given a standardized hatch to slaughter timeline, how does the dressed weight compare between these treatment groups?
  3. Are consumers willing to pay more at a farmer’s market for chickens raised on GMO-free feed?

Searching for a Solution

In 2015, the farm performed a side-by-side comparison of pasture-raised Cornish Cross broilers fed on GMO-free feed vs. conventional feed. Three batches of birds were raised under experimental conditions; tracking feed costs, labor inputs, transportation, and dressed weight at processing. At the farmers market, Pruch surveyed consumers to evaluate preferences for GMO-free vs. conventionally fed birds. A higher cost-per pound price was assigned to the GMO-free birds to account for higher feed costs.


Pruch asserts these important findings:

  • Feed consumption per bird was lower in the GMO-free fed birds; however, total cost of feed per bird was higher given the higher cost of GMO-free feed.
  • Total input costs per bird were approximately 12% higher for the GMO-free broilers.
  • Average dressed weight of broilers was slightly lower, on average, for the GMO-free broilers.
  • Consumers had a slight preference for GMO-free birds when presented with a choice, despite a higher price point.

Over 500 producers learned of the possible economic viability of raising GMO-free poultry to meet the demand from consumers.

Watch Pruch's YouTube Video about the project and its findings.

Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) FW15-054, Evaluating Market Opportunities of Conventional vs. GMO-free Broilers .

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2016 Annual Report

For the first time, we are sharing a yearly snapshot of our work. The stories provided here typify the creative, participatory and integrated research Western SARE annually funds – led by land grant institution researchers and graduate students, Extension and other ag professionals, and nonprofit leaders in full partnership with producers.