Chicken could become a ‘luxury meat’ just as expensive as beef

Chicken in supermarket

Chicken is the country’s most popular meat (Photo: Getty)

Chicken can soon become as expensive as beef thanks to sky-high production costs, a supermarket manager has warned.

The nation’s selected meat is likely to continue to rise in price as the cost-of-living crisis worsens, Co-op CEO said.

The chicken market – a firm favorite on UK menus, partly because it’s affordable – is expected to face challenges that other meats do not want.

The hefty prices of bird feed have been a challenge for the poultry industry – and the rising price of meat is only expected to continue in supermarkets and restaurants, say industry insiders.

‘Chicken can be as expensive as beef. The chicken industry is facing particular challenges due to feed costs, co-ops Steve Murrells told The Sunday Times.

‘The majority of cattle raised in this country are fed on grass and it is not required to have high-density feed.

‘Chicken, which was incredibly cheap and great value for money, is rising faster than any other protein.’

Hen

Fast food restaurants Nando’s and KFC have increased their prices in recent months (Photo: Getty)

The cost of raising a chicken has risen by almost 50% in the last year, which has been further exacerbated by the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Chicken feed is made primarily from soy, sunflower flour and wheat, all of which have risen in price in recent months.

Russia and Ukraine are both major exporters of sunflower oil, of which sunflower flour is a by-product, and wheat.

The average retail price of chicken has increased by 19% per. kilograms from March 2020 to March 2021 – while beef has increased by 3%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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The prices of both meats were closely matched on top-end products such as organic assortments, with the price of chicken set to overtake the price of beef.

Murrells, who has also worked as a senior manager at Sainsbury’s and Tesco, said the price increase could cause customers to reconsider their meat consumption.

‘You could see a shift to pastures [animals], one could see a shift to more plant-based food. Customers will have to be smart about what they can afford, “he said.

“They buy a chicken, they have to have it for a roast on a Sunday, but then they use the entrails and whatever is left to make a soup. Customers will find creative ways to make food last longer. ‘

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