Poultrymeat production in the European Union is expected to expand in 2020, but at a slower rate than in previous years, according to new analysis.

Prices have rapidly fallen back below the five-year average, after the mid- March spike in consumption caused by coronavirus.

Total production in the 27 member states grew 1.6% in 2019, and further growth of 1.2% is predicted for 2020.

See also: Significant fall in EU/UK poultrymeat and egg trade

The projections were made in the Spring Short Term Outlook for agricultural commodities, which is prepared by the European Commission.

It predicts growth in per-capita consumption, to 23.6kg/head (a 0.2kg rise).

It suggests that, while chicken production and consumption will continue to grow, foodservice closures would have an impact on ducks, Guinea fowl, pigeons and quail, which are harder to sell in supermarkets.

Poultry prices

Over 2019, broiler prices in Europe stayed close to their five-year average, the report suggests. Since the beginning of this year prices rose steadily, peaking in mid-March before dropping again.

Polish poultry prices have seen a steep decline as avian influenza restricts the country’s export markets.

Like the weekly market dashboards that the EU Commission prepares for agricultural commodities, the UK is now treated as a third country.

UK exports

The report says the UK exported 2.9% more poultrymeat over 2019, mostly low-value cuts and legs. “By contrast, import from other countries are mostly breasts, and processed products of higher value largely addressed to foodservice.”

With the closure of restaurants, the report expects total imports to be lower than last year.

Exports grew by 6.7%, with shipments increasing to most of the EU’s main markets for poultrymeat, in particular to the UK (+2.3%); South Africa (+62%); the Philippines (+40%); Vietnam (+34%) and China (quadrupled).

Avian influenza outbreaks are expected to dampen export demand over 2020, though China is still accepting significant volumes of poultrymeat from Poland.