The squeeze on consumers with the rise in the cost of living has had a big impact on poultry consumption compared with other meats.

Over the last three years, poultrymeat has accounted for most of the rise in meat consumption in the UK, according to figures from Defra.

See also: Poultry feed prices continue to track lower

Pigmeat also recorded an increase, while beef and sheepmeat declined slightly.

During the nine months from January to September last year, total meat consumption was 3.81 million tonnes (measured as carcase weight equivalent), a rise of 333,000 tonnes from the same period in 2020.

This amounts to an increase of 10% overall, or an average of 3.3% a year.

Full year figures have yet to be released for 2023.

Poultry consumption

Within this, poultry consumption at 1.80 million tonnes was up by 301,000 tonnes or 20%, according to Defra, which is a remarkable rate of growth averaging 6.7% a year.

By comparison, in the ten years from 2010 to 2020, growth in poultry consumption averaged just 1.25% a year; and only 0.4% in the ten years after the millennium.

Pigmeat (pork, bacon and ham etc) has also gained ground in recent years, achieving an increase in consumption of 66,000 tonnes in Jan-Sept last year to 1.03 million tonnes; a rise of 7% compared with the same period of 2020.

Share in the market

Meanwhile beef slipped by 25,000 tonnes to 787,000 tonnes (3.1% down) and mutton and lamb by 9,000 tonnes to 196,000t (4.4% down).

As a result, poultrymeat has increased its share of the meat market in each of the last three years since 2020, taking share from all three of its main competitors including pigmeat, and is now edging towards half of the total UK consumption.

During the January-September period last year, poultry accounted for 47% of all UK meat consumption by volume.

This marked an overall rise of four percentage points from a 43% share during the same nine months of 2020.

Beef’s share was down two percentage points to 21%; mutton and lamb by one percentage point to 5%; and pigmeat was also down one point, to 27%.