Fair visitors given “pretty optimistic” view of industry future

A largely upbeat message on poultry meat prospects was given to producers at the Pig & Poultry Fair this morning by Cargill Meats’ fresh chicken director, Chris Hall.

Declaring himself to be “pretty optimistic” about the industry’s future, Mr Hall pointed to the strength of the current market in terms of its continued volume growth, but also warned his Fair forum audience not to forget the critical importance of maintaining respect for the sector’s supply/demand balance.

“Fresh poultry has shown good volume growth,” he said, “and it’s important that we see this being sustained in the future.

“Much of the sector’s progress, of course, is based on building trust with consumers which highlights the need for us all to continue to be open and transparent in what do. Being British and sustainable are also key factors, as is the need to keep investing and being innovative across the supply chain, if we’re going to deliver unbeatable value.

“Having said that, I believe poultry is really ideally placed to meet consumers’ needs going forward.”

Asked later during a forum question session how he would advise growers to proceed concerning possible expansion plans, Mr Hall (pictured above) added: “The supply/demand balance is obviously always going to be really critical and my personal view is that we’re right on the balance at present.

“In that context, it’s really important that you work with your customers, you look at what they’re doing and then measure your ability to grow in relation to what the demand really looks like. If you grow in a speculative way then there will be significant risks involved.

“This is an industry where it is easy to boost supplies quite quickly, so it’s really important that we have discipline as an industry, while always needing to invest when possible, to be ready to meet increased demand and market growth when it occurs.”

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