The British Poultry Council has published "The Economic Impact Assessment: the British Poultry Industry 2013." The report, which contains the first analysis of its kind in the U.K., was undertaken by Oxford Economics, and the British Poultry Council hopes that the research will be repeated annually.

Among the findings are that the poultry industry contributes GBP3.3 billion (US$5.5 billion) to U.K. GDP, with every GBP1 billion generating another GBP1.3 billion in the rest of the economy. The industry supports 35,400 jobs and a further 37,900 indirect jobs in the wider supply chain.

British consumers buy more poultry than any other meat. By weight, poultry makes up around half of all meat purchased in the country, and the average household spent GBP2 per week on fresh, chilled or frozen poultry in 2010.

New poultry meat high

Chicken dominates U.K. poultry production. Chickens account for 93 percent of the total number of birds, while turkey and ducks make up 4 percent and 3 percent of the national flock, respectively.

With the continued growth in chicken meat production and the reversal of the decline in turkey meat production, the overall weight of poultry meat production reached a new peak of 1.6 million tons in 2012, up by over 10 percent from the low point of less than 1.5 million tons in 2009. Of this total, 1.3 million tons was chicken meat.

The number of chicken broilers reared for slaughter in the U.K. rose to nearly 875 million in 2012 from just over 780 million in 2001. Turkey production is said to be on the rise again, with 18.4 million birds reared in 2012.

Regional production concentration

Poultry meat production is not evenly spread across the U.K. In 2012, Northern Ireland's poultry stock stood at 10.5 birds per head of population at any given time, compared with a U.K. average of 2.5 birds. There is a concentration of major poultry establishments in the West and East Midlands and East of England.

International poultry perspective

The U.K. is home to 14 percent of total EU poultry production. However, of the 2 million tons consumed in 2012, 0.7 million tons came from imports. Both imports and exports have increased over recent decades. Imports have grown by 2.5 times since the mid-1990s while, over the same period, exports have grown by 3.5 times to 0.3 million tons. In 2012, U.K. poultry meat exports were valued at GBP286 million. Since 2001, their value has grown by an annual rate of over 5 percent.