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Training Programme Concludes with Key Business Insights

10 April 2013
National Farmers Union

UK - Over the last six months, 19 young poultry producers from all over the UK have participated in a new training programme aimed at creating and inspiring the next generation of industry leaders.

Last week, industry experts from IGD, Morrison’s, Kantar and HSBC concluded the Poultry Industry Programme in an effort to ensure a bright future for the sector supply chain.

The group got a two-day insight into market influences, latest industry trends, the economic situation and its impact on the consumer. Sessions were designed to provide the participants with an insight into commercial pressures and to help them understand and anticipate strategic change.

The first day focused on retail sector. David Evans, Morrison’s head of agriculture confirmed the chain’s policy of sourcing 100 per cent British eggs is safe for the foreseeable future. He added that the price differential between more expensive beef and lamb has seen consumers on a tight budget switching to more affordable meat including chicken.

Next up was Chris Hogan from retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel who talked about recent consumer buying patterns.

“Versatility is king across the proteins - consumers are trading joints for mince and whole birds for breasts,” he said. And he noted that during the horsegate scandal, Tesco lost 4 per cent of market share – ‘unusual’, according to Kantar.

Heeran Buhecha, the Adjudicator Bill manager then provided insight on the challenges of addressing unfair trading practices. The opening day concluded with a visit to Shropshire egg packer Oakland who, grade, pack, box and palletise around 300,000 eggs per hour.

The final day of this year’s programme explored potential barriers to expansion.

Amy Jackson of Oxtale Public Relations provided a comprehensive view on planning and public perception of huge scale farming.

James Walton, IGD Chief Economist, outlined the latest economic pressures and looked at geo-political change and social change.

He said: “Economic conditions remain tough for shoppers and the businesses that serve them. There is little sign that things will improve, with more shocks yet to come. Poultry farmers will have many challenges to deal with but poultry meat is affordable, nutritious, versatile and easy to prepare, making it attractive to shoppers.

“UK retailers are using their ‘foody’ credentials to create a competitive edge and this may benefit UK producers who can offer quality, traceability and good production ethics.”

HSBC’s head of agriculture Allan Wilkinson urged the group to forge better relationships with their customers and understand their international competitors.

He also expressed how vital benchmarking is for businesses and HSBC’s goal to help poultry producersseize the currentopportunities. His key message was that the success of a business is all down to the farmer.“Farmers are the biggest variable within a business,” he said.

NFU poultry adviser Chris Dickinson said: “A sustainable and successful poultry industry needs the next generation to be provided with the opportunities to develop skills.

“This programme has come at key time for the poultry industry. The next generation have much to be proud of. The industry has embraced new technologies, and continued to innovate and integrate to meet market demands.

“The sector still faces challenges of volatility, planning, and combating public perceptions particularly relating to large scale production - and it’s increasingly important that we help to equip the industry with the necessary skills and research to deal with these challenges”

Norfolk poultry producer Patrick Joice said: “The PIP has helped to provide poultry producers across the UK with relevant research and information- and has also provided a networking opportunity. I’m incredibly proud to be part of a professional network of producers and it was invaluable to share expert views across the group”.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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