Trading Chicken Feet Is Going Digital



Julia-Ambra Verlaine | Wall Street Journal

Ashley Honey spent his career surrounded by glowing computer screens, swinging hundreds of millions of euros or yen around the globe at a keystroke.

Now he’s looking to deploy those cutting-edge tools on another asset class: chicken feet.

If Mr. Honey has his way, the multibillion-dollar market for poultry and meat will soon join the electronic revolution that shifted financial markets from crowded pits of traders onto stacks of humming servers. In charge of strategy and partnerships across the Americas at New Zealand-based Nui, which builds electronic trading platforms for trading dairy and meat, he aims to take market share from food-product giants such as Interra by automating the trading of everything from prime rib to pigs ears.

For agricultural giants like Tyson Foods Inc., moving millions of pounds daily of meat and poultry products from farmers to vendors world-wide still requires phone calls, spreadsheets and personal relationships with middlemen who take a cut. Brokers fees can add up, and it is hard to get reliable up-to-the-minute pricing information. Unlike other markets, inventory and supply aren’t available on a centralized database.

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