Optimistic prospects for Europe’s poultry industries

Strengthening global demand for animal products, rooted in growth of both the world population and incomes, looks set to improve the prospects of the European Union’s livestock and poultry industries to 2030, according to a new report.

Alffoto, Dreamstime
Alffoto, Dreamstime

Strengthening global demand for animal products, rooted in growth of both population and incomes, looks set to improve the prospects of the European Union poultry and livestock and industries to 2030, according to a new report.

Although higher exports are expected to benefit some sectors — including poultry meat and eggs — the European Commission latest report, The EU Agricultural Outlook 2017-2030 warns that the prospects look less positive for some areas, for example, fresh milk production.

World total meat consumption is forecast to increase by one percent per year, or 14 percent over the study period, 2017-2030.

This growth is expected to support a rise in European Union (EU) meat exports from the current 4.35 million metric tons (mmt) to 4.70 mmt. Meanwhile, annual per-capita meat consumption within the EU changed little from the present 68.5 kg as food processors incorporate more animal products in processed foods, and overall fresh meat consumption gradually declines.

Growth forecast for EU poultry meat sector

Within overall meat production, poultry meat looks likely to be a winner, with increases forecast in both EU production and consumption.

Since EU output of poultry meat stood at 12.134 mmt (carcass weight equivalent) in 2010, production has risen each year, reaching 14.669 mmt in 2017. By the end of the reporting period, this figure is forecast to have reached 15.349 mmt. This growth will have been achieved predominantly in the EU’s 13 newer member states (EU-N13), and with negligible growth in the sector in the 15 longer-term EU countries (EU-15).

Per-capita annual poultry meat consumption patterns in the EU look set to follow similar trends to those of production. From the current average of 24.1kg, uptake is predicted to reach 24.8kg by 2020 and then plateau to 2030. Average consumption in the EU-N13 is forecast to overtake that of the EU-15 by 2025 at 25.5kg and 24.6kg, respectively.

Increases in both imports and exports of poultry meat are forecast for the EU in the report, with the net trade gap expected to widen in volume terms after 2020 to 657,000 metric tons (mt) by 2025 and 752,000 mt by 2030. However, the authors highlight that this trade is characterized by high-value imports and low-value exports so, for example in 2016, EU exports amounted to 1.4 mmt with a value of EUR1.5 billion, while the 880,000 mt of imports were worth around EUR2.2 billion.

Imports, which have shown a generally upward trend since 2010, dipped in 2017 to 831,000 mt, but they are forecast to be as high as 995,000 mt by the end of the study period.

Figures for export trends show a similar pattern. At 1.486 mmt, the volume for 2017 was down slightly from last year, but outward trade of 1.555 mmt is forecast for 2020, and 1.747 mmt for 2030. This expansion of exports is attributed by the report’s authors to a wide offer of different cuts of meat and offals, as well as a wide portfolio of destinations for the products.

EU egg production, consumption on upward trajectories

Total EU egg production is forecast to return to growth in the report, increasing steadily from 7.704 mmt in 2017 to 8.287 mmt by 2030.

Per-capita consumption within the EU is expected to follow a slow upward trend as rising uptakes in the EU-15 more than compensate for a slow-down in the EU-N13 states. With egg imports of little significance, the report’s authors forecast EU egg exports to rise to 320,000 mt by 2030 from the current 233,000 mt.

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