A survey by the British Poultry Council has found that two-thirds of its members feel more confident about the industry’s future than they did six months ago.
In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, producers have seen a greater demand for British poultry meat. 75% of members surveyed say that consumer demand is the most important factor behind the industry’s future prospects, with retailers responding by leaning towards a more pro-UK procurement policy. 40% say they have increased their production levels over the last six months in response to this increased demand.
The rise in grain prices and its impact on feed costs continues to be the greatest concern for the industry, although some producers argue that these have stabilised. 80% of respondents think that feed costs have had a negative impact on their business over the past six months.
Reflecting the increased confidence, 70% of members report that they have increased their employment levels over the past six months. The industry is continuing to invest in skills and training, with 70% of those members with apprentice schemes on track to recruit the number they have outlined in their company’s business plan. Furthermore, 80% of members report that the skills-base within their organisation has grown over the past six months, driven by increased opportunities for internal promotions and strong in-house training programmes.
“Against a challenging economic backdrop, it is encouraging that the British poultry industry is growing in confidence”, commented Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council. “Feed costs continue to affect profitability, but strong consumer demand offers hope for the future. The horsemeat scandal has led to several leading retailers prioritising British produce and accelerated the trend of increasing numbers of consumers buying poultry as a high quality, yet cost effective way of feeding the family.”
The BPC surveyed its members between 19 June and 3 June to assess their attitudes on a range of key issues affecting the poultry sector. It was completed by some of the biggest names in sector, including 2 Sisters, Bernard Matthews, Cargill, Faccenda, Kelly Turkeys and Moy Park.