POULTRYMEAT consumption in the UK has increased over the past year, despite falling production across the sector as a whole.

As a result, a larger trade gap has opened with the rest of the world, but mainly due to a drop in exports, alongside a smaller rise in imports.

See also: British turkey numbers down this Christmas

Latest figures from Defra show that UK consumption of all kinds of poultry (measured as supplies reaching the market) rose by 98,400 tonnes to 2.32m tonnes in the 12 months to June, compared with the same period of 2021-22. This marked an overall increase of 4.5%.

At the same time, production fell by 66,500 tonnes to 1.95m tonnes, a drop of 3.3%.

The missing 165,000 tonnes was made up by reduced exports, compared with a year earlier, and more significant imports.

Export drop

The drop in exports over the 12 months was substantial, falling by 38% (121,000t) to 195,000 tonnes. Imports rose by 9% (44,000t) to 551,000 tonnes.

Hence the trade gap almost doubled in a year, with net imports rising by 86% to 356,000 tonnes.

The 4.5% increase in poultrymeat consumption is encouraging news against the backdrop of falling consumption of other meats, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis.

Other protein

In the 12 months to June, beef consumption fell 10,000t to 1.08mt.

Pigmeat was down 59,000t to 1.41mt; while mutton and lamb dropped 22,000t to 264,000t – the latter a decline of 8%.