CONSUMPTION of poultrymeat in the UK reached an all-time high last year, but only at the expense of a record level of imports.

Total consumption of all kinds of poultrymeat, measured as supplies coming on to the market, was up 169,000 tonnes to 2.242 million tonnes, according to Defra figures.

This marked a year-on-year increase of 8.1% and was also 6% higher than the previous peak of 2.114mt in 2018.

At the same time, home production went in the opposite direction. Last year’s poultrymeat output fell 51,000 tonnes to 1.938mt compared with the year before.

The gap was filled by a sharp rise in imports, which rose by 145,000 tonnes on 2021 to take a 25% share of the UK market. Meanwhile, exports were down by 75,000t to 259,000t.

Home-grown consumption

Taking the lower exports into account, the overall result was that UK production, as a percentage of consumption, fell by nearly 10 percentage points to 86.5%, equalling a previous low point in 2016.

According to Defra data, the last quarter of 2022 saw a fall-off in poultrymeat consumption compared with previous quarters, despite the seasonal demand for Christmas turkeys.

This was due to a drop in production to 468,000t, against an average of 490,000t over the first three quarters of the year.

Other proteins

The last quarter of the year was particularly lively for beef, where market share rose to 23.2%, against 20.7% during the rest of the year.

Poultrymeat’s market share in the final quarter was down to 42.7%, compared with 45.2% during Jan-Sept, but still well ahead of beef, lamb (at 5%), and pork (29%).

In the retail sector, the rate of price rises has generally eased back marginally in recent weeks, according to the latest industry figures from Kantar.

Grocery inflation

Grocery price inflation stood at 17.3% in the four weeks to 16 April 2023, says Kantar, down from the 17.5% recorded in the previous four weeks.

During the same period, home grocery sales grew by 8.1%.

“The latest drop in grocery price inflation will be welcome news for shoppers, but it’s too early to call the top,” predicts Kantar.

Own-label brands

“We think grocery inflation will come down soon, but that’s because we’ll start to measure it against the high rates seen last year.”

The report adds that the British public continues to turn to own-label lines to help manage spending.

These were growing at 13.5% over the period, while the cheapest ‘value’ own label lines were doing even better, with sales rising by 46% versus a year ago.