Demand for British set to drive poultry production

Rising UK poultry meat production is a trend set to continue, the British Poultry Council (BPC) has told

Following Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) statistics, highlighting a rise in poultry meat production of 1.9%, a BPC spokeswoman said the achievement was down to several factors.

Broiler slaughterings, she explained, were up by 3.1% on the previous year to 71m birds, which was mainly due to an increase in demand for poultry from the consumer. However, she said a second and broader reason was because of the “massive push for British meat – also in the wake of the horsemeat story”.

Such demand for British meat from the consumer has been answered by supermarkets, most of which have promised to reach 100% British chicken eventually, the spokeswoman said. As a result, she added: “Poultry producers have had to supply loads more – hence the sharp peak in placements/slaughters.”

“We’re expecting a similar kind of growth next year since the buy British trend is unlikely to lose speed.”

However, turkey meat production has not fared so well, with turkey slaughterings 24% lower on the previous year to 1m birds.

“On the turkey side, you’ll have peaks in placements around July and August for the Christmas birds with the obvious peaks in slaughters just from November to December (frozen and fresh birds). Year-round turkey consumption is still a bit slow, but overall there has been a steady if slight increase in production over the last couple of years,” the spokeswoman explained.

Meanwhile, she said the challenges for sector in the future lie within its success. “Challenges are going to be more on the farming side of things, since we’ll need to expand farms and infrastructures to produce more and we often struggle with planning applications for new/bigger farms.”


Yet space struggles are not the only difficulty the sector will face going forwards. A recent paper published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) outlined the areas the poultry sector needed to focus on in a bid to dramatically reduce the bug campylobacter.

The paper was discussed at a meeting in Aberdeen last month, where a general call for more funding, sincerity and action in handling the bacteria from the sector was made.


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