Moves by Finnish meat company Atria to move into the antibiotic-free chicken (ABF) market as part of its ‘Healthy Growth’ strategy has boosted its financial returns.
Annual figures saw net sales grow by €85m from €1.351.8m in 2016 to €1.436.2m last year.
Launched under the Atria Family Farm brand, sales of the antibiotic-free bird rose by €50m, with feedback on the product very positive.
Chief Executive Officer Juha Grohn said: “We achieved growth through the corporate acquisitions made earlier, but also organically.”
While there is evidence of strong demand for the product in Finland, there is still concern in the US around oversupply of antibiotic-free chicken, which in some areas are outstripping demand. Photo: Shutterstock
Demand for antibiotic-free chicken
Its Healthy Growth Strategy, launched in 2016, aims to improve profitability and strengthen the balance sheet across its 4 business areas of Finland, Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic.
While there is evidence of strong demand for the product in Finland, there is still concern in the US around oversupply of antibiotic-free chicken, which in some areas are outstripping demand.
Also read: Transition to antibiotic free production
ABF supply exceeds demand in US
Major US producer Sanderson Farms Inc said at the end of January that industry data indicated that the supply of ABF chicken was currently significantly greater than demand for the product.
Sanderson said ABF chickens made up an average of 40.5% of all fresh US production for the first 10 months of last year.
The company is the only large US chicken producer not to have committed to limit the use of antibiotics, Reuters reported. Tyson Foods and McDonalds have been quick to cut antibiotics from poultry supplies in the light of growing antimicrobial resistance.
Use of vaccines to meet antibiotic free targets
Meanwhile, poultry health companies are also promoting vaccines as a way forward in helping producers meet targets such as antibiotic free production.
Articles exploring the different areas of animal production that can be optimised to better protect animals, which in turn, diminishes the need for preventative or sub-therapeutic medicine. Read more...
Ceva announced this week “a new wave of innovation” driven by vaccines designed to help producers overcome their largest current challenges. The firm said producers looking for long-term success needed to focus on innovation centred around antibiotic free production and stringent welfare practices.
It has recently invested in diagnostic work, data analysis, personalised on-farm audits and other processes to find solutions to day-to-day obstacles in these areas.