Chicken sales jump as consumers give beef the cold shoulder

The horsemeat scandal has benefited poultry producers, who have seen demand for chicken jump.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 12 Aug 2013

The horsemeat scandal has made some people think twice about cheap beef burgers, and it appears that chicken producers are reaping the benefits.

The UK’s poultry producers recorded greater demand from consumers over the last six months, and 40% have increased production levels as a result, according to the British Poultry Council.

Poultry, which includes chicken, turkey, duck and geese, now accounts for almost half of all the meat consumed in Britain and contributes £4.4bn to the retail industry. Britain produced 126,000 tonnes of poultry meat in June, up 5% on the same month last year.

Campaigns such as ‘Buy British’ have helped push up demand, the Poultry Council said. This boost in sales has left Britain’s poultry producers more optimistic about their future, with two thirds of the BPC’s polled members stating that they felt more confident about the industry’s future than they did six months ago.

The increased confidence has led to a hiring spree, with 70% of members reporting that they have taken on more staff since the end of last year. That's a clucking lot of jobs...

However, rising grain prices and its impact on feed costs are still a concern for Britain’s farmers.

‘Feed costs continue to affect profitability, but strong consumer demand offers hope for the future,’ said Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council.

‘Against a challenging economic backdrop, it is encouraging that the British poultry industry is growing in confidence,’ he added.

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