This year's Avec report, a non-profit association for the European poultry sector, outlines the prospects for the poultry industry until 2014, While it predicts the market will recover the growth rate will be slower than in the last decade. There have been numerous bird flu outbreaks across the EU this year. Just yesterday FoodProductionDaily.com reported another outbreak in Poland. Hungary suffered an attack of the virus in January. Germany and the Czech Republic have also both reported outbreaks of H5N1 along with the UK. Bird flu outbreaks in early 2006 caused short-term disruption in the market balance of poultry meat, with weakening consumer confidence and export opportunities, the report said. However, this disruption is not expected to alter the medium-term outlook for poultry production. This remains "relatively positive" and has several things going in its favour including, competitive prices with respect to other meats, strong consumer preference and increased use in food preparations. Per capita consumption in EU-27 is expected to increase from 22kg in 2006 to 24.3 kg by 2014. The Avec report also predicts that "production and consumption are expected to grow at a lower pace than in the nineties, in line with the slowdown observed in most recent pre-Avian Influenza years (1999 to 2004), when production only grew by 1.9 per cent per year on average, as compared to average growth rates of 2.3 per cent per year over the period 1995 to 1998." While pig meat continues to dominate the meat market, accounting for some 50 per cent, poultry is second choice for EU consumers. With a share of around 26 per cent, poultry consumption has overtaken beef and veal since 1996. Avec predicts that poultry consumption will continue to grow up to the year 2014, and there will be a corresponding decline in the shares of beef, sheep and goat meat. The consumption of pig meat is forecast to maintain its 50 per cent share in total meat consumption but is projected to grow at a lower rate than poultry which should reach a share of 28 per cent.
The poultry sector is expecting to recover from market disruption from bird flu and grow by more than three percent over the next seven years, a report has said.