The European poultrymeat market is expected to grow over the next decade – the only meat category to do so, according to the latest prospects report from the EU Commission.

In part, this is being driven by higher global and domestic demand, as consumers switch to cheaper meats in response to the ongoing economic slowdown, it suggests.

While pork will remain the most popular meat in the EU, with 40.8kg/capita consumed each year, poultrymeat consumption is expected to increase by 4.3% on average, reaching 24.1kg/capita by 2022.

“Increasing production also reflects the capacity of poultry to adjust more rapidly to market shocks on the demand and the supply side,” says the report.

EU broiler prices have been at very high levels during 2012, it adds, peaking in September at €2,040/t, some 16% above the 2007-11 average.

Overall, poultrymeat imports recorded a 3% decrease between January and August 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, with Brazil in particular reining in shipments (-6%).

On the other hand, imports from Thailand increased by 4% as the country regained access to the EU market for up to 92,000t of frozen, salted poultrymeat. According to trade sources, Thailand is still building up capacity to fulfil the quota, with a higher uptake expected in 2013.

Over the medium term, EU exports are expected to remain strong, increasing another 3.2% by 2022, due to growing world demand, especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

World consumption for poultrymeat is projected to grow by 25% over the same period, though the EU is expected to mainly trade in lower quality products, namely those which do not find an outlet on the domestic market.

On the downside, the EU Commission is forecasting continued firmness in the feed market, “supported by factors such as the growth in global food demand, the development of the biofuel sector and a prolongation of the long-term decline in food crop productivity growth”.

“The medium term outlook for EU cereal markets is characterised by tight market conditions, low stock levels and prices remaining above historical levels,” it says.

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