Poultry Meat in the Netherlands

Quality is an important feature of Dutch poultry meat production, according to a new report Livestock, Meat and Eggs in the Netherlands 2010 published by the Product Boards for Livestock, Meat and Eggs (PVE).
calendar icon 30 July 2010
clock icon 6 minute read

Chicken is a highly popular, easily digestible meat product. Meat produced by animals kept in the Dutch poultry sector – and slaughtered in Dutch poultry slaughterhouses – is of the highest quality. This is because the Dutch poultry sector leads the world with its quality policy. A substantial proportion of the production is exported to countries that require high quality.

Different specialisms are involved in the production of poultry meat. The varieties are selected and improved at breeding farms. The eggs then go to hatcheries and the hatched chicks are taken to multiplication farms, where hens and cocks are crossed. The hatching eggs ultimately obtained are then hatched at hatcheries. These chicks are transferred to broiler farms where they reach maturity in around six weeks or more time, depending on the type of housing system. The Netherlands leads the way as far as quality control is concerned. The IKB Kip quality scheme accredited in 2008 ensures chicken meat of excellent quality. The Dutch poultry sector itself provides extra guarantees for the consistent quality and reliability of its end products.


The health and hygiene of products in all links in the production chain is systematically inspected. The poultry sector has taken the initiative to implement its own approach towards controlling Campylobacter – as well as the obligatory control of Salmonella. The approach to Salmonella and Campylobacter forms part of the IKB quality scheme. This allows guarantees to be given about the consistent quality and reliability of chicken products.

The Netherlands is leading when it comes to controlling Salmonella. The Salmonella policy developed by the Netherlands forms the foundation of the current EU Salmonella policy.


In 2009, consumption of chicken at 19kg per capita reached an absolute record in the history of the poultry sector. Consumption of turkey fell in 2009 by 200g, and totalled at 1.1kg per capita. As broiler consumption was buoyant again, consumption of poultry meat in total (23kg per capita), reached a record level, despite the fall in the consumption of turkey.

Proceeds, Production and Population

According to the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI) the prices achieved for broilers in 2009 fell by around six per cent compared to 2008. Due only to the 12 per cent lower feed prices and the slightly cheaper day-old chicks, the balance between profits and costs per set-up chick rose slightly in 2009 compared to 2008.

According to the PVE's Poultry Flock Information System, the average broiler population in the Netherlands was more than 46 million in 2009, whereas this figure was a good 44 million in 2008. The number of broiler farms stabilised in 2009 at 709.

The gross domestic production of the poultry sector (carcass weight) in 2009 was 709,000 tonnes: a growth of 1.5 per cent compared to 2008. The gross domestic production of broilers also saw a rise in 2009 of two per cent to reach 640,000 tonnes (carcass weight).

The gross domestic production of turkey meat (carcass weight) in 2009 decreased by nearly 10 per cent to reach 25,900 tonnes. As there have been no turkey slaughterhouses in the Netherlands since 2005, the gross domestic production now consists exclusively of exports of live turkeys.

Gross domestic production of other poultry (chicken, ducks, geese, guinea fowl) stabilised at around 43,000 tonnes of carcass weight in 2009.

Sales structure of the broiler sector in 2009

Broiler slaughterhouses in 2009
(slaughtering more than 10,000 tonnes per year)

Average broiler population, parents of meat-producing breeds and farms with broilers and parents of meat-producing breeds

Producer prices of broilers (1925g) in 2007-2009
(in €/kg of live weight, including VAT)

Production of poultry meat in 1995-2009
(in 1,000 tonnes of slaughtered weight)


Although the export of processed and unprocessed poultry meat increased in volume in 2009 by two per cent to 937,000 tonnes, when translated to value the exports fell, as a result of a less than good prices in the fourth quarter of 2009. Exports to the United Kingdom in particular saw some pressure.

Imports of poultry meat including processed, cooked and canned products stabilised at approximately 550,000 tonnes in 2009. Imports from the United Kingdom and Germany saw a slight fall, while imports from a number of other countries, especially Brazil, noted a rise.

Destinations of poultry meat exports in 1995-2009
CHICKEN MEAT (hens, cockerels and broilers)
1995 2000 2005 2008 2009
Total x 1,000 tonnes 403 568 590 719 736
Share to country in %
Germany 44.2 30.0 26.8 23.8 23.2
United Kingdom 9.2 18.2 22.6 19.3 19.0
France 3.3 4.4 6.1 7.4 8.7
Romania * * * 8.0 8.4
Belgium and Luxembourg 5.1 5.0 8.2 7.9 8.0
Other EU countries 3.6 5.6 13.8 14.6 13.6
Russia 13.9 10.2 5.2 3.8 3.4
Ukraine 2.8 0.6 1.9 4.2 3.4
Hong Kong 3.6 1.9 1.3 1.2 1.4
African countries 1.8 9.2 7.3 6.1 6.2
Other third countries 12.5 14.9 6.8 3.7 4.7
* included in Other third countries entry
1995 2000 2005 2008 2009
Total x 1,000 tonnes 54 61 45 34 32
Share to country in %
Germany 42.5 22.9 30.8 16.1 19.2
France 0.6 1.6 1.5 3.3 10.5
Belgium and Luxembourg 15.4 6.7 13.5 9.3 4.7
Other EU countries 1.9 0.6 13.2 12.3 19.9
African countries 7.5 11.5 15.3 41.3 37.2
Russia 21.9 53.5 15.1 9.3 3.6
Other third countries 10.2 3.2 10.6 8.4 4.9

Destinations of poultry meat exports in 1995-2009
Total poultry meat
1995 2000
Total x 1,000 tonnes 467 644
Share to country in %
Germany 44.8 29.5
United Kingdom 8.1 16.0
Belgium and Luxembourg 6.2 5.2
Romania * *
France 3.0 4.0
Other EU countries 3.5 5.3
Ukraine 2.5 0.7
Russia 14.5 15.4
Hong Kong 3.1 1.7
African countries 2.6 9.1
Other third countries 11.7 13.1

Further Reading

- You can view our previous report on eggs and egg products in the Netherlands by clicking here.

July 2010
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