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20/05/14 11:13

Up the pecking order

Positive signs for Scotland’s poultry sector.

Over half of shoppers are willing to pay a premium for Scottish chicken as poultry sales soar in Scotland.

The figures come from a progress report commissioned by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead as part of the Scottish Government’s Poultry Plan, launched in December 2013 to secure a sustainable and profitable future for the sector.

The report shows that in the first quarter of 2014 fresh poultry sales in Scotland were growing three times faster when compared to England and Wales, and over 90 per cent of shoppers want Scottish poultry in the big supermarkets.

Mr Lochhead said:

“These are hugely encouraging signs and show a sizeable demand and appetite for quality Scottish poultry.

“Poultry sales are going up across the UK and there is a clear demand from Scottish consumers for Scottish products. This should send positive signals for the future to an industry which is worth £118 million to our economy.

“The Poultry Plan which I launched in December has received the backing of the key organisations in the sector and we are beginning to see some of the benefits from it. For example, we are developing a Scottish poultry brand to cater for that clear demand for Scottish produce, and the Scottish Chicken Growers Association, funded by the Scottish Government, is now well established and has facilitated positive engagement with major firms.

“We still have much work to do, particularly around increasing the amount of Scottish chicken supplied by wholesalers into food catering companies. But we’re off to an encouraging start and I’m confident we can build on this and position Scotland’s poultry sector so it can capitalise on the abundance of opportunities that are out there.”

Philip Hopley, a chair of the Scottish Chicken Growers Association (SCGA) said:

“The Scottish Chicken Growers Association welcomes the support provided by the Scottish Government for their activities and wholeheartedly endorses the implementation of the poultry plan.”

NFU Scotland’s Food Chains Policy Manager, Kylie Barclay said:

“Working closely with poultry producers in recent months has reminded us all of how important a contribution this industry makes to Scotland’s successful food and drink sector. Our ambitious and innovative growers merit the Scottish Government’s focus on supporting and promoting their work.

“That support is backed by the good news that sales of chicken are growing in Scotland and that consumers want to see Scottish chicken products. For their part, the setting up of the SCGA has facilitated collaborative working amongst our chicken growers in Scotland and NFU Scotland hopes that this, along with the support offered by the Scottish Government, will result in a dynamic industry that will go from strength to strength.”

Notes to editors

The Poultry Plan Update can be accessed via: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/Livestock/eggs/poultryplanforscotland

A Poultry Plan for Scotland was published on Tuesday December 24, 2013 http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Safeguarding-Scottish-chicken-7d0.aspx