With global protein demand continuing to climb and African swine fever cutting a swath through Asian domestic pig herds along with disrupting German pork exports, growth went hog wild in some sectors for food processing company Tyson Foods (TSN 3.04%), as revealed in its latest quarterly report, issued this morning. According to Zacks Equity Research, Tyson beat Wall Street consensus estimates on both revenue and earnings per share in the fourth quarter.

The Zacks figures indicate analysts predicted $1.15 in EPS, while the actual figure of $1.81 delivered a 54.39% positive earnings surprise. EPS also blasted 49.6% higher year over year compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. In terms of revenue, Tyson surpassed the year-ago quarter by 5.33% and analyst expectations by 3.15% with its $11.46 billion in sales.

A worker wearing latex gloves and protective clothing inspecting hams before packaging.

Inspecting hams before packaging. Image source: Getty Images.

Pork led the way in sales volume gains, jumping 15.2%, while the company's beef segment was a close second with 11.8% year-over-year volume gains. Chicken and prepared foods were much weaker, with just 1.9% and 1.6% volume increases, respectively. Chicken and prepared foods saw much lower demand because of coronavirus-related lockdowns and sharply reduced food-service orders, while pork and beef maintained much stronger demand through the pandemic.

Looking ahead to fiscal year 2021, Tyson says it expects pork and beef demand to ease, though continuing to grow, while chicken and processed foods should see growth strengthen. It expects increased international demand, and anticipates $42 billion to $44 billion in overall fiscal 2021 revenue. Liquidity should stay above its $1 billion target.

Tyson appears to be using its sales windfall to invest in further development, including a plant-based filet for "Unchicken sandwiches" and increased poultry capacity in China and Europe, potentially boosting its chances of keeping momentum into the new year.