The power of the media is more evident in the poultry industry than ever before, with TV programmes earlier this year accelerating free-range and organic sales.

Speaking at the Egg and Poultry Industry Conference, Michael Barker (pictured) fresh foods editor at The Grocer said TV programmes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver bought poultry into the mainstream.

But early next year Jamie Oliver was to centre his new TV programme on the pig industry. Mr Barker questioned who would be championing the poultry industry when Mr Oliver’s media focus moves towards pork.

The industry needed to be careful how to market itself, he said. Would pork take the spotlight away from chicken in 2009?

There had been more than 7000 articles on chicken in the past year and 100 stories in the past three months had mentioned chicken in The Grocer, he added.

But the chicken industry did not do enough to market itself, he said.

Mr Barker said the “taste” message had been lost from poultry marketing.

Consumers loved chicken, and the poultry marketing industry should be using the “taste” message.

With turkey still associated with Christmas and Thanksgiving in America and pumpkins linked with Halloween, the poultry sector needed to see more innovation with chicken, said Mr Barker.