SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Following a weak first-quarter performance, the trend continued in the second quarter of fiscal 2023 for Tyson Foods, Inc., with the company’s Beef, Chicken and Pork business units all struggling with softer demand and higher costs.

“Last quarter, we said that we expected Q2 to be tougher than Q1, and this quarter was definitely a tough one,” said Donnie King, president and chief executive officer, during a May 8 conference call with investment analysts.

For the quarter ended April 1, the company recorded a loss of $97 million, which compared unfavorably with the same quarter of the previous year when the company earned $829 million, equal to $2.34 per share on the common stock.

Quarterly sales were flat at $13.13 billion compared with $13.12 billion the year before.

The share price of Tyson Foods’ stock fell 16% to $50.73 per share at the close of markets on May 8, down from $60.69 at the close of markets on May 5.

In the company’s Beef unit, the market is cycling out of historically strong margins that positively affected the business in fiscal year 2021 and 2022, said Mr. King. Business unit sales fell to $4.6 billion during the quarter from $5 billion the year before. The Beef unit generated no operating income during the quarter.

“Cutout values across protein complex are much lower than a year ago,” Mr. King said. “Inflation has also remained elevated and persistent, which has dramatically impacted our cost.”

In the Chicken business unit marketing conditions remain challenging. Chicken sales rose to $4.4 billion from $4.1 billion the year before while the unit’s operating income was a loss of $258 million compared with $198 million the year before.

“Commodity prices for most fresh chicken cuts are much lower than last year, with boneless breast meat, tenders and wings down more than 50%,” Mr. King said. “While we're not fully exposed to commodity markets, we are not immune to their dynamics.

“Some might expect these dynamics to impact our results immediately, but, in fact, they work through on a lag. As chicken commodity prices declined in Q1, the impact continued into our Q2, while price increases we saw during the quarter are expected to affect Q3.”

At the same time, Chicken business input costs rose $145 million during the quarter.

“We also realized an unfavorable year-over-year derivative impact of approximately $135 million due to volatility in commodity grain prices,” Mr. King said.

While the Pork business unit gained a modest 1.1% of volume, it was offset by a 10.3% decline in average sales price due to soft global demand, which led unit sales to fall 9.2% during the quarter. Business unit sales fell to $1.4 billion during the quarter from $1.6 billion the year before. The Pork business recorded an operating income loss of $33 million during the quarter. Operating income was $59 million the year before.

A bright spot for the company during the quarter was its Prepared Foods business unit, which generated sales of $2.42 billion during the quarter, up from $2.39 billion the year before. The unit had an operating income of $241 million, which was down from $263 million in fiscal 2022. Pricing contributed 1.2% to the sales increase while volume fell 0.4%

The weak quarter prompted management to reduce its outlook for fiscal 2023.

“We are lowering our total company sales guidance to $53 billion to $54 billion or flat to 1% growth for the year,” said John R. Tyson, chief financial officer. “In our Beef segment, based on the deterioration in current market dynamics, we now expect margins to be between a loss of 1% and a gain of 1% for the fiscal year. Also, due to challenging market dynamics this time in our Pork segment, we are lowering margin guidance for the year to be between a loss of 2% and breakeven.

“In Chicken, we now expect full-year margins to be between a loss of 1% and a gain of 1%, based on our results so far in April, we anticipate Q3 margins to be roughly breakeven as we gain momentum and exit the fourth quarter at or above the high end of the full year range.”

For the first six months of fiscal 2023, Tyson Foods net income was $219 million, equal to 63c per share, down from the first six months of fiscal 2022 when the company earned $1.95 billion, or $5.50 per share.

Sales for the period ticked up to $26.4 billion from $26.1 billion the year before.