Growth in poultry meat consumption in Europe has been strong over the past decade, increasing by 2% per annum according to the latest EU outlook.
However, the EU is forecasting that this could slow to 0.5% in the decade ahead. This would mean average per-capita consumption in the EU increasing from 23.5kg in 2021 to 24.8kg by 2031.
Consumer consumption of poultry meat is driven by its healthy image, ease of preparation and the fact that it has no constraints among any religious group.
The rate in increase of EU poultry meat production is also expected to slow in the next decade, reflecting the pattern of consumer demand.
Between 2011 and 2021, EU production was increasing by 2.6% annually on average but this is forecast to slow to an 0.4% annual increase in production during the next decade.
Trade to slow down
The EU poultry trade expanded rapidly in the past decade, increasing by on average 3.7% annually, but this is expected to slow dramatically in the next decade as competition is fierce, particularly from Brazil.
The EU forecast is for share of the global poultry trade to fall from 16% in 2021 to 13% by 2031
EU poultry exports benefited from increased demand from China due to the loss of pig production caused by African swine fever (ASF), but demand from China is expected to fall in the coming years as the pig herd recovers from ASF and it continues to increase its own poultry production.
The USDA is, however, forecasting that Chinese poultry meat imports will increase by 3% in 2022.
The EU forecast is for share of the global poultry trade to fall from 16% in 2021 to 13% by 2031 and prices are expected to be approaching €2,000 per tonne by 2031.
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the USDA is forecasting a 2% increase in global production in 2022 to a record 100.9m tonnes, with the biggest growth in the US, Brazil and China. The US is forecast to be the world’s largest producer of poultry meat in 2022 at 20.6m tonnes, followed by Brazil on 14.7m tonnes and the EU in third on 11.1m tonnes.
The volume of poultry meat traded internationally is also forecast by FAS to increase by 3% to 13.3m tonnes, also a record.
The biggest importer of poultry meat in 2022 will be Japan
Brazilian poultry meat exports will account for 1.2m tonnes of this with the EU the next largest exporter on 1.8m tonnes and Thailand is third on 1m tonnes.
The biggest importer of poultry meat in 2022 will be Japan, taking just over 1m tonnes according to FAS followed by Mexico and China taking 900,000t each with the UK next on 675,000t and the EU on 610,000t.
Irish poultry sector
The decision of South Africa to suspend poultry meat imports from Ireland at the end of last year was a major blow.
South Africa in 2020 was our second most important market, taking just under one third of our total exports by volume. The loss of the South African market was added to by the sharp reduction in sales to the UK, which fell 40% in the first nine months of 2021 compared with the previous year.
COVID-19 restrictions in the UK meant the hospitality and catering sector was seriously disrupted
The largest part of the fall in sales to the UK was in the first half of 2021 when the volume was down by 28,000t (Bord Bia). COVID-19 restrictions in the UK meant the hospitality and catering sector was seriously disrupted for much of the first half of 2021, reducing demand.