Poultry market update
Poultry meat production in the UK increased by 1% (13,600 tonnes) year-on-year in 2017, to 1.8 million tonnes, according to Defra data.
Production from boiler chickens accounts for around 85% of all poultry meat produced in the UK, totalling 1.6 million tonnes in 2017, up 2% (35,800 tonnes) year-on-year.
The total number of broiler chickens slaughtered rose by 4% (44.3 million birds) during the same period, to 1.03 billion birds. The number of boiling fowl (which includes spent hens and spent breeders) declined by 6% (3,590 birds) year-on-year, to 53,300 birds.
The number of broiler chick placings has been increasing over the past three years and in 2017 increased by 3% (34.6 million chicks) on-the-year, to 1,047.2 million chicks. In every month apart from December the number of chick placings increased on the year. In January and February 2018, broiler chick placings also recorded strong year-on-year increases.
Production of turkey meat declined by 11% (18,000 tonnes) on-the-year, to 146,600 tonnes, while the number of turkeys slaughtered declined by 8% (1 million birds), to 13.1 million birds. The average liveweight of a turkey at slaughter fell below 13kg for the first time since 2012, at 12.7kg/head. Duck production increased by 4% (1,000 tonnes) on-the-year, to 30,600 tonnes.
In 2017, the UK imported 7% (31,100 tonnes) less fresh/frozen chicken meat than in 2016, at 410,000 tonnes, according to data from HMRC. UK exports of chicken grew by 18% (47,100 tonnes) in 2017 on-the-year, to 309,900 tonnes. Over 95% of UK imports of fresh/frozen chicken meat imports come from other EU countries, while just over three quarters of exports are destined for the EU. As with the pig sector, trade plays an important role in balancing the carcase.
So far in 2018, chicken has performed strongly in the supermarkets, somewhat bucking the trend of other proteins. In the 12 weeks ending 25 February, there were 18% more promotions on chicken which has helped support an increase in volume sold.
Rebecca Oborne, Analyst
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