NEW YORK – Sales of chicken, beef and pork improved in the past two weeks as the weather turned warm, Tyson Foods Inc. told investors at the BMO Capital Markets 2011 Farm to Market Conference.

"We are happy with the improvement in demand we've seen following a cold, wet April," said Donnie Smith, president and CEO. “Because beef and pork pricing are strong, many retailers and foodservice operators are likely to feature chicken this summer.”

One key factor driving price is the amount of protein available to US consumers, said Noel White, senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats. USDA figures verify that protein supply has declined the past three years and is projected to decline again in 2011 – which is an unusual trend. Strong exports have contributed to that trend.

"Exports, along with production efficiencies and value-added programs, are driving our earnings," White said.

Going forward, he does not see major changes in the solid fundamentals of beef and pork. "The outlook is bright," he concluded.