Shoppers want to buy British chicken, but producers need to receive a fair price to ensure they can meet the demand in the long term, according to the NFU.

As poultry producers gathered today on the first day of the British Pig and Poultry Fair at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns said that more money needed to be passed back down the supply chain to safeguard the sector’s future.

Key points

  • The lowest price NFU survey participants are paying for certain inputs include £26/10 chicks (up 2.1% on 2007 price), and £221/t of feed (up 42.4% on 2007 price)
  • Typical costs of production equate to 69.85p/kg liveweight
  • Typical farm gate price (return to producer) 68.08p/kg liveweight

Production costs in the chicken meat sector have risen by nearly 25% (14p/kg liveweight) in the past year, but producers are not receiving enough money back to cover their costs. A survey carried out by the NFU revealed that, on average, producers are making a loss of 2.7% on every bird they produce once production costs are added in.

Mr Bourns added: “A recent British Marketing Survey showed consumers are still actively seeking to buy assured British chicken, but we need to ensure enough money is passed back down the supply chain to make businesses economically viable in the long term.

“Consumer tastes are changing and producers are ready and willing to produce what shoppers want to buy. But to be able to keep up with these changing demands, producers must receive enough money to ensure their businesses are sustainable.

“It’s a harsh reality of life that costs are rising, not just for producers, and everyone is finding it difficult. But producers cannot continue to absorb the cost of rising input prices without receiving a fairer return.”