“Eggs are back in fashion, they’re healthy, nutritious and consumers love them,” this was the take home statement given to the packed audience at NFU Cymru’s Annual Poultry Conference on Wednesday 20 November.
This message came from one of the conference speakers, James Corbett, Managing Director of the Ridgeway Food Group. He explained that there had been a strong growth for eggs in recent years and that per capita consumption was on the up. This has been led by various factors including lifestyle changes and direct and non-direct marketing.
NFU Cymru Poultry Board Chair, Victoria Shervington-Jones said: “The poultry industry is a forward-looking, dynamic industry, continually looking to drive efficiencies. The progressive nature of the industry is evident this evening, as I look around the room I can see so many young faces all here eager to learn more and share knowledge with others within the industry.
“Although egg prices have increased slightly from this time last year, there is still a long way to go to get a fair price for our product. Broiler prices have also been under pressure and feed costs for both sectors have been high. A tough retailer environment, demanding cheaper food, is driving down prices at the farmgate and the continued political turmoil is causing uncertainty on the UK’s future trading relationships with the EU27.”
NFU Cymru Policy Adviser, Dafydd Jarrett said: “We must not underestimate the true value of this industry; 200 eggs are consumed per person per year in the UK. This shows that there continues to be a huge demand for this healthy and nutritious product. There will always be a demand for a value egg and the Welsh and UK Governments must bear this in mind when deciding on future policies for the sector.
“There are challenges going forward; the threat of a ‘No deal’ Brexit has not gone away and the UK Government must re-look at its tariff regime. Zero tariffs on imported eggs and only 22% on poultry meat imports could lead to EU products flooding the UK marketplace and pushing Welsh and UK poultry producers out of business. Our current competitive and forward-looking industry cannot compete with these cheaper lower standard products.
“We must continue to communicate the great work taking place within the industry; one being the huge reduction in antibiotic usage, the UK is now one of the lowest users of antibiotics in the EU. Such messages need to be out there with consumers and we will do everything to present consumers with facts not fiction.
The speakers at the Poultry Conference included:
Victoria Shervington-Jones, NFU Cymru Poultry Chair
Aimee Mahony, NFU Poultry Adviser
James Corbett, Ridgeway Foods Group
Jawad Khawaja, Vetagro
Philip Hughes, Ekogea