NFU Scotland questions 2 Sisters ‘rescue plan’

NFU Scotland has expressed its grave concerns about plans by 2 Sisters Food Group to downsize its operations in Scotland, with the loss of an estimated 200 jobs at the Coupar Angus factory and the termination of contracts with some broiler growers.

In a statement on Wednesday (20 November), 2 Sisters said it was taking the action because of an oversupply in Scotland and “evidence of a decline in the UK poultry market due to changes in consumer demand”.

But in a statement on Thursday (21 November), NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller (pictured) described the move as a real blow to the poultry industry.

“We have got indications that some of the direct contract suppliers will be served notice within the next 24 hours, with others awaiting the outcome of the review. These farms may be without any contract work or processor at all in two or three months’ time – it is a pretty hard place to be.”

Mr Miller added that the union had real concerns about the claimed change in the poultry market. “We will be working to identify that and trying to identify the real reason that all of a sudden we need less poultry processed in Scotland in order for us to push volumes up again.

“In Scotland the costs are much higher in terms of production and processing, in particular transportation, feed and heating,” he added. “Commitment from retailers and processors is critical for the future of the Scottish poultry industry.

“We will also be speaking to supermarkets to get them to play a role in helping secure a future for the poultry industry in Scotland.”

One affected producer said it was surprising that 2 Sisters had identified a decline in the UK poultry market, when most industry commentators and analysts had been talking about steady expansion of the sector in recent months.

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