Poultry giant Pilgrim’s Pride this week posted earnings of $119.4 million for the first quarter of 2018, up from $93.9 million in the same period in 2017, a 27 percent increase driven by increased consumer demand for chicken in the U.S., Mexico and Europe. Sales for the quarter rose 11 percent to $2.75 billion. In the U.S., Pilgrim’s Pride’s largest business unit, sales rose to $1.84 billion during the quarter from $1.74 billion during the same period of the previous year. Operating income dipped to $182,370,000 from $188,306,000. The Brazilian-owned company’s Mexico business unit saw sales rise from $284 million during the first quarter of 2017 to $361.3 million in 2018. Pilgrim’s European business unit generated sales of $544.3 million, compared with $458.8 million in 2017.

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