Export worries dent poultry sector confidence

Poultry industry confidence has been knocked due to export uncertainty, according to a new British Poultry Council (BPC) survey.

The survey revealed that 15.4% of respondents said they felt slightly less confident than six months ago about the future of the UK poultry meat industry, while 23% felt similarly about the future of the business they worked for. This contrasts with six months ago, when no respondents felt less confident in either the industry or their individual businesses.

The survey showed that 23% of respondents said they had seen a decline in sales to traders normally destined for export, unlike sales to retail customers, in which 46% have seen an increase.

Furthermore, due to the trade impacts of the UK outbreak of avian influenza, 23% of the industry believe sales over the next six months to exporting traders are expected to decline.

The report also revealed good news, however, with 62% of the industry believing they would see a slight increase in sales of poultry meat to retailers, and 38% saying they expected to see an increase to foodservice customers over the next six months.

BPC chief executive Andrew Large said: “This survey shows that both the industry and individual members companies continue to have confidence in their futures. The reported decline in export trade is a matter for concern, however, and it throws into sharp relief the need for the UK to regain its avian influenza disease-free status as quickly as possible.”

Other concerns also exist, and respondents said an important BPC policy priority area was reducing the presence of campylobacter.

Large added: “The priority placed on campylobacter reduction in this survey is indicative of the very real efforts that members are making to reduce the prevalence of campylobacter in chicken.”

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