A survey by the British Poultry Council has found that two-thirds of its members feel more confident about the industry's future than they did six months ago.

In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, producers have seen greater demand for British poultry meat with retailers leaning towards a more pro-UK procurement policy. Forty percent of survey respondents noted that they had increased production levels over the last six months in response to this increased demand.

The survey, conducted in June, was completed by some of the biggest names in the poultry sector, including 2 Sisters, Bernard Matthews, Cargill, Faccenda, Kelly Turkeys and Moy Park.

Forty percent of respondents replied that production levels had increased over the preceding six months, with 30 percent reporting a significant increase and 10 percent a slight increase. Fifty percent noted no change, while 10 percent recorded a slight decrease.

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Costs
 Eighty percent responded that there had been a major change in production costs over the past six months, and virtually all respondents mentioned the increase in grain prices as a key driver for this change. Sixty percent noted that there would be a slight increase in their business' production costs over the next six months, while 20 percent predicted a significant increase. Only 20 percent believed that levels will stay the same.

The rise in grain prices and its impact on feed costs continues to be the greatest concern for the industry, although some producers argue that these conditions have stabilized. Eighty percent of respondents replied that feed costs have had a negative impact on their business over the last six months.

Seventy percent of BPC members reported that they had increased employment over the last six months. Furthermore, 80 percent of those members report that the skills-base within their organization had grown over the period, driven by increased opportunities for internal promotions and strong in-house training programs.

Andrew Large, BPC chief executive, commented: "Against a challenging economic backdrop, it is encouraging that the British poultry industry is growing in confidence. Feed costs continue to affect profitability, but strong consumer demand offers hope for the future."