Growth forecast for Europe’s poultry meat and egg markets

In contrast to other animal protein sectors, latest forecasts point to continued — even improving — growth trends for the poultry meat and egg markets in the European Union (EU) until 2030.

(Motortion | Bigstock)
(Motortion | Bigstock)

Of all meat categories, the only one expected to expand over the coming decade is poultry meat. This is among the key forecasts in the “European Union Agricultural Outlook 2020-2030,” published last week by the European Commission (EC). Also likely to continue an upward trend in production in the 27 member states of the EU is egg production.

For both poultry meat production and consumption, growth trends over the past five years will continue. Again unlike other meat sectors, poultry meat expansion has occurred even during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the EC.

More poultry meat to be produced

In the EU, total output (in carcass weight equivalent, cwe) in the outlook report could reach more than 14.07 million metric tons (mmt) in 2030, an increase of 471,000 metric tons (mt) or 3.5% from the current level.

For this sector, authors of the report identify as key drivers of growth adaptation to consumer demand, improved sustainability, increasing prices, and opportunities for investment in eastern European countries where production costs are lower. Within the region, consumers’ perception of the health aspects of poultry meat have driven demand over recent years. Lower cost compared to other meats as well as the industry’s abilities to adjust its products to suit home cooking have contributed to the sector’s growth in 2020.

As a result, per-capita consumption of poultry meat in the EU is forecast to rise from the present 23.6kg to 24.6kg by 2030.

Poultry meat trade “buoyant”

For the current year, both imports to and exports from the EU have dipped, reversing recent trends. However, EC forecasts point to a return to the normal pattern of expansion from 2021.

Over the next decade, exports are expected to rise by 9.8% from the current 2.34mmt to almost 2.57mmt. Key to this growth is the trade in valorized cuts, such as wings to Asia, as well as halves and quarters to Africa. However, the EC forecasts that the EU’s share of world trade will decline slightly over the coming decade as the region loses out to Brazil.

Imports of poultry meat to the EU comprise mainly cuts to the food-service sector, according to the EC. At 748,000 mt in 2020, this trade has been impacted by COVID restrictions this year. For the coming decade, imports are expected to be restored to the former growth pattern, reaching 960,000 mt by 2030.

Rising prices forecast

Reflecting the impacts of COVID restrictions on markets generally, average market price for poultry meat dipped in 2020 to EUR1,881 (US$2,287) per metric ton. By 2030, this is forecast to reach EUR2,063, supported by continued strong demand.

More dynamic egg market

For the EU egg market, the outlook report forecasts similar trends to poultry meat, but faster growth in all parameters. All figures are given for eggs for consumption.

In terms of regional production, volume is expected to increase by 7.3% over the coming decade — from the current level of 6.313 mmt to 6.774 mmt.

Meanwhile, double-digit rises are forecast for both incoming and outgoing trade. Currently standing at 914,000mt, imports could reach 1.1 mmt in 10 years’ time — an increase of over 20%. Exports could expand by more than 15% to 1.2 mmt by 2030.

Annual per-capita egg consumption in the EU is expected to continue its upward trajectory over the coming decade, reaching 15.0 kg. This compares with 13.8 kg currently, and just 12.3 kg in 2016.

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