The true cost of your Easter chicken

UK - Are you having chicken for your Easter lunch? If so, have you thought about the real cost of getting that meat on your plate?

You can't go far wrong with buying chicken if you are considering pounds and pence alone. Once a luxury reserved for Sunday roasts, the cost of chicken meat has fallen dramatically over the years, making it one of the cheapest and most popular foods in Britain.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the average household spends £1.50 a week on fresh, chilled or frozen poultry. Eight hundred million broilers - chickens bred for meat - are reared and slaughtered in the UK each year.

With a population of about 60 million - and excluding the 3 million vegetarians - this means an average four-person household eats about 56 British-reared chickens a year.

According to Tesco's Price Check service, which compares prices across four of Britain's leading supermarkets (including itself), standard skinless chicken breast fillets cost about £9.40 per kg. Free- range equivalents are typically £4 more, at between £13.99 and £14.99 per kg, while an organic version can set you back as much as £17.99 per kg. It is hardly surprising that the factory-farmed product leads the way in sales.

Yet the reality is that factory-farmed chickens come at a much higher cost if you consider the conditions in which they are raised. Broiler chickens are ready for slaughter in 40 to 42 days. The speed with which they are force-fed to reach this high body weight means that birds' hearts and lungs cannot keep up and they frequently die of heart failure when they are only a few weeks old.

Source: TheObserver
calendar icon 27 March 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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