‘Chicken could become as expensive as beef’, says Co-op CEO

Co-op CEO Steve Murrells said that “chicken could become as expensive as beef” as feed costs have continued to soar.

“Chicken, which was incredibly cheap and great value for money, is rising quicker than any other protein,” the independent retailer’s CEO said.

Currently, chicken is the UK’s most popular meat and strays far ahead compared to beef, lamb and pork, in part due to affordability.

READ MORE: Britons are buying less meat amid cost of living crisis

However, consumers were warned at the end of 2021 that poultry prices were expected to rise to compensate for the rising cost of production, poultry supplier 2 Sisters warned.

The poultry company that processes over 10 million birds a week in the UK and Europe explained that labour shortages and commodity prices meant there was less choice and higher prices.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also shown that the average retail prices for a chicken has increased by 31p (nearly 12%) to £2.89 per kg in the last year.

Speaking at the Retail & eCommerce directors’ forum Murrells said that customers might even switch to vegan alternatives or other meats if chicken prices continued to rise.

“Customers will have to be savvy about what they can afford,” Murrells added.

“They’ll buy a chicken, they’ll have it for a roast on a Sunday, but then they’ll use the giblets and whatever to make a soup. Customers will find creative ways of making food last longer.”

The news comes as NielsenIQ revealed that volume sales of meat, fish and poultry decreased by 13% in the four weeks to 23 April year-on-year.

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