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Poultry Meat: Best Value Food

06 May 2013

UK - Over the last two decades, poultry prices have risen at the slowest rate of 35 different food categories, and have increased at only half their average rate, new analysis by the British Poultry Council (BPC) shows.

To mark the retirement of Chief Executive Peter Bradnock, who has spent 20 years in the poultry industry, the BPC looked at the impact of inflation across a range of different areas. Since April 1993, poultry prices have risen by 30.9 per cent, an average annual increase of only 1.5 per cent. This is well below the retail price index which has gone up by 76.9 per cent over the last two decades.

Poultry has the lowest rate of increase across 35 different food categories, which increased by an average of 68.1 per cent over the same period. Since April 1993, lamb prices have risen by 108.7 per cent, fish by 96.1 per cent, pork by 95.3 per cent and beef has increased by 50.8 per cent.

Rates of inflation are even higher outside the food sector, with recent research by Shelter revealing that if food costs had risen in line with house prices1 since 1971, a roast chicken would currently have a £51 price tag. However in April 2013 the average price of a chicken purchased at a supermarket is £4.592, which makes it an affordable source of healthy meat for consumers.

Poultry price increases have been mitigated by the level of consolidation within the industry. In 1993, over 20 companies contributed 90 per cent of poultry production in the UK, down to five companies in 2013. At the same time production levels have gone up by 25 per cent. In recent years, frozen poultry production has fallen from 50 per cent of total sales to 15 per cent. The quantity of chicken consumed, as a percentage of all meat in the UK, has increased from 34 per cent to 44 per cent over this period. 49 per cent of all meat now consumed in the UK is from the poultry sector.

Peter Bradnock, BPC’s Chief ExecuFtive, commented: "Over the past twenty years in my role I have seen the poultry meat sector change dramatically. It is a dynamic and fast-paced modern food industry committed to improving efficiency throughout the production process. In 2013, chicken remains the best value healthy meat for families in the UK. I am confident that the industry will continue to go from strength to strength."

Peter Bradnock will retire from the British Poultry Council in May 2013 and will be replaced by Andrew Large.

1 According to The Daily Telegraph, “How house prices have risen 43-fold since 1971,” 7 February 2013.

2 Based on the average price of a chicken, weighing approximately 1.2kg, from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Asda and Tesco on 23 April 2013.

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