News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
on June 30, 2009

Top poultry companies in Europe

French companies dominate the poultry processing scene in Europe.

European poultrymeat production rose to 13.7 million tonnes (mt) last year and is forecast to continue rising with another 600,000 tonnes (t) expected to be added this year. The poultrymeat market captured 27% of the total European fresh meat market and was worth 37 billion.

Doux still in the lead

Leading the way among the poultry processing giants is the French company, Doux, which produced 1.1mt of poultrymeat products. The company processes more than two million birds each day and it has an annual turnover of about 1.4 billion.

Doux is a major player across the industry, selling into retail, food-service and the agri-food industry in more than 130 countries on five continents.

The Group's major brands are Doux, Père Dodu, Frangosul, LeBon, Tio Cosme and Guts-Gold, as well as Le Janzé for free-range poultry and Label Rouge.

The group and its subsidiaries are active in all segments of the poultry market chicken, turkey, duck and guinea fowl as well as rabbit and goat meat. Products range from fresh and frozen products to processed products including breaded products, ready-made meals and poultry deli products.

Groupe Doux employs more than 14,500 people around the world, and it runs 22 slaughter and cutting sites, four processing sites, 14 hatcheries and 12 food factories in five countries, namely France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Brazil.

Top 10 European poultry companies showing their percentage
European market share and the principle countries of operation



Market Share (%)

















United Kingdom














Gastronome (Terrena)




Moy Park


United Kingdom


2 Sisters


United Kingdom

French connection

The second major group in France is LDC. The company processes more than one million tonnes of poultrymeat a year and has a turnover of more than 1.5 billion. The company had been affected by the European outbreak of avian influenza earlier in 2006 but as the year progressed, the company said that it could monitor a return of consumption and an upturn in sales. The company has a strong export business worth 131 million as well as interests in Poland and Spain.

LDC employs 11,600 people, of whom 2000 are outside France.

Part of the Terrena agri-food co-operative, Gastronome, processes about 177,000t of poultry products a year mainly chicken and turkey but also some duck. Brands include Fermier d'Ancenis and Douce France

Another leading French group is Glon, which processes more than 140,000t of product a year and more than 1.1 million chicken and turkeys a week. It holds a one-per-cent share of the European market.

Italian importance

Leading the Italian poultry processing sector is AIA, part of the Veronesi group. It produces more than 300,000t of chicken products both fresh and frozen and 200,000t of turkey products annually.

Italy's number two poultry processor is Amadori, which has an output of around 200,000t of chicken meat a year from six slaughterhouses and three processing plants. The company runs an integrated system, also operating six hatcheries and five feedmills. The company has a turnover of 612 million and employs 5400 people.

UK strength

In the UK, Grampian Country Food Group's Integrated Chicken Unit is the largest business unit within the organisation, processing 3.8 million chickens per week. The company has a broad portfolio of chicken products including the Super Roaster' the market leader in large chickens, chicken portions including fillets, thighs, drumsticks; cooked whole birds and portions.

Each week, the company produces 5600t of whole and portioned chicken, 470t of value-added products and 410t of cooked chicken as well as 650t of ingredients and 140t of turkey products.

2 Sisters Food Group in the UK is a privately owned European food company with an annual turnover in excess of UK£400 million (592 million). The company has eight sites, including one in Holland.

2 Sisters is predominately a private label manufacturer but also has the key brands of Buxted and Hermanns.

Founded in 1943, Moy Park is Northern Ireland's largest food processing company and one of Europe's leading poultry companies, employing over 7000 people. It is part of the US company, OSI. Moy Park is a vertically integrated business, which includes parent/broiler hatcheries as well as both primary and further processing facilities. Operations are based in Northern Ireland, England and France.

The company processes 1.4 million birds per week and has sales of more than UK£700m (1.036 billion). The company is at present in the middle of an extensive building programme at a cost of UK£21 million (31m) at its Padley chicken plant in Lincolnshire.

Sale in the Netherlands

The Dutch agri-food group, Cebeco, whose Plukon Royale poultry processing bought Pingu Poultry from Nutreco, has sold the Plusfood Group to the Brazilian giant, Perdigão.

The company manufactures processed and convenience food products based on poultrymeat and beef, and owns two important brands in the European market: Fribo for hamburgers, which is also being acquired by Perdigão, and Friki for poultry products. The acquisition's principal objectives are to help improve Perdigão's European sales up the value chain. The deal is reported to have been worth about 30 million.

German leader holds steady

In Germany, the leading poultry processor is the Wesjohann group. With sales of 756 million, the Poultry Specialities Division occupies a leading position in the group thanks to the leading Wiesenhof brand. Turnover of 60.6 million was generated by Breeding and Franchising, upstream of the Wiesenhof' brand.

Its company report stated, In spring 2006, avian influenza was the cause of major international turmoil on the poultry market, including massive slumps in sales, and in Germany as a result of overcapacity a significant drop in the price of poultrymeat. Wiesenhof, Germany's leading poultry brand, was able to stand its ground in this extremely difficult climate significantly better than its competitors. Sales in the Wiesenhof Poultry Specialities division sank by 2.6% to 766 million (previous year: 786 million).'

The Wesjohann group, with interests also in animal health, breeding and nutrition, had a total turnover of 1.27 billion.

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