Irish poultry to fair better than red meat

Poultry sales will benefit from cash-strapped consumers trading down to better “value for money” meats such as chicken and turkey.

This is the verdict of Bord Bia (Irish Food Board) in its Performance and Prospects 2008-2009 report, which adds that poultry demand is likely to fair better than most meats in the slower economic environment.

It is good news after a disastrous year for the Irish industry, which saw the value of Irish poultrymeat exports decline by an estimated 8% to €223m in 2008.

The UK is the key market, accounting for 80% of Irish poultry exports. Increasing competitive pressures and the weakening of the British pound has led to a substantial drop in the value of exports. However, this was partly offset by a 3% increase in broiler prices in line with EU trends.

This resulted in broiler production levels falling by 5% during the year with duck and turkey production also down.

To combat this fall in export value, Bord Bia and several Irish poultry companies are planning two marketing campaigns promoting Quality Assured Irish chicken.

“We will have two campaigns in 2009,” said. “It is two years since the last one. The poultry industry will be profiling itself to the market using the quality assurance scheme.”

He added that Northern Irish companies may also be become involved in the campaigns.

The fluctuating sterling/Euro differential and imports from third countries to the EU have impacted on Irish poultry exports, as well as home market sales.

“Competition from places like Thailand continues to be an issue for Irish poultry,” said Mr Cotter.

In the home market, sales to the retail sector are being affected by cheap imports. “We estimate that as much as 90% of poultry sales in foodservice is imported. Needless to say this is putting pressure on local processors to maintain a viable business in the Irish market,” he said.

See more