Despite chicken sales are booming in the country, the Irish poultry industry is in a state of crisis, blamed on EU rules and regulations.
"Since 2000, six of the 12 chicken processors in Ireland have gone out of business. At the same time, imports have increased their share of the market from 10% to 60%. Without a shadow of a doubt, more companies will go out of business," said Vincent Carton of Carton Brothers, a big player in the market.
The Post.ie reports that Carton Brothers has annual revenues of €117 mln, giving it a 20% share of the Irish poultry market. Each week, it slaughters 580,000 birds, which are then sold in supermarkets and butchers across the country. Despite this, Carton acknowledges that the company is struggling to make a profit. ‘‘The company has not generated enough money to recapitalise itself,” he said.
It is further reported that the Carton Brothers is not the only company struggling. Poultry processor Cappoquin Chickens went into liquidation recently after falling into €6 mln debt, citing increased international competition and the rising cost of poultry feed as the main factors behind its demise. This is the latest in a steady stream of chicken processors to go out of business.
"‘We have had one company go out of business each year for the past 6 or 7 years," said Ciaran O’Regan, a director of Shannon Vale Foods, the Cork chicken processor. The poultry sector has been hit by a series of factors, including the surge of imported chickens from low-cost foreign economies, skyrocketing poultry feed prices, labelling issues, and higher energy and water costs.
According to the industry lobby group, the Irish Poultry Processors Association (IPPA), the average price of a whole chicken on sale in a supermarket is €5.52. Of that, the processor gets a cut of 86%.