Meat eaters stung by the worst food inflation in four decades are trading down from beef to chicken, according to one of the world’s biggest crop traders.

Inflation pressure overall has Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. reducing its outlook for animal-feed demand in a range from 10 million to 15 million tons globally, Chief Executive Officer Juan Luciano told investors Tuesday. Still, demand for chicken feed is outpacing that for cattle as consumers shift their consumption.

And with chickens eating a diet of corn mixed with soybean meal -- while cattle, especially in the US, mostly bulk up only on corn -- ADM is signaling that prices for soymeal may have a bigger upside than corn.

“Chicken is more affordable and is where we get all the soybean meal mostly sourced,” Luciano said. “Soybean meal remains a very efficient and cost-effective protein substitute even for wheat as prices are still relatively expensive.”