Poultry production, jobs and confidence increase

A members’ survey undertaken by the British Poultry Council (BPC) has revealed orders are up, employment and training are on the rise and confidence has increased in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

The BPC said 40% of those surveyed had increased production levels over the past six months as a result of stronger demand, most of these “significantly so”. It also found 70% had increased employment during the same period, and half of respondents had formal apprentice schemes in place – but those who didn’t had still taken between one and six apprentices on.

Two-thirds of those questioned said they felt more confident about the industry than they did six months ago, and more than 50% were more confident about the future of their business.

Consumer demand was considered the most important factor driving the sector’s future prospects, while the biggest concern was rising feed costs, with 80% saying there it had had a negative effect on their business over the past six months.

Furthermore, 60% felt there would be a “slight increase” in production costs over the next six months – though some argued feed volatility had stabilised.

Andrew Large, chief executive of the BPC, said: “Against a challenging economic backdrop, it is encouraging that the British poultry industry is growing in confidence.

“Feed costs continue to affect profitability, but strong consumer demand offers hope for the future. The horsemeat scandal has led to several leading retailers prioritising British produce and this accelerated the trend of increasing numbers of consumers buying poultry as a high-quality, yet cost-effective way of feeding the family.”

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