By Jeremy Armstrong News Reporter and Ben Glaze Deputy Political Editor
Sun 1 May 2022 20:09
Source > Mirror
Chicken could soon cost as much as beef in the latest cost of living blow, store chiefs warned yesterday (Sun).
It means chicken supreme will be as pricey as a filet steak for the first time since the 1950s, according to Steve Murrells, chief executive of Co-op supermarkets.
Asda chairman Lord Stuart Rose urged the Government to do more to tackle the spiralling crisis.
He warned soaring food prices were here to stay for millions of hard-pressed families.
Mr Murrells fears that chicken could become as expensive as beef due to rocketing cost of chicken feed, once produced in large quantities in Ukraine.
He said: “The chicken industry has particular challenges because of the feed costs. The majority of cattle raised in this country are fed grass and it is not required to have high dense feed.
“Chicken, which was incredibly cheap and great value for money, is rising quicker than any other protein.”
The 2 Sisters food group, the UK’s largest chicken supplier, confirmed that annual food inflation of 15 per cent “will be needed to even begin to cover the increasing cost of production”.
Before the 1960s, chicken was a luxury foodstuff in Britain. Some families tucked into roast chicken, rather than turkey, for Christmas Dinner.
In 1956, the National Food Survey recorded poultry as 60p per kilogram but by 1962 the price had plummeted to 44p a kilogram.
By 1962, poultry had fallen by 16p to 44p a kilogram, while beef and veal had risen to 47p.
This was partly due to the arrival of refrigerated vehicles and better transport, which meant poultry meat could be produced at scale and moved across the country without rotting.
Mass-produced chicken became a staple of the family diet.
It was the single most important source of meat, with a quarter of the total share of the market, by the 1980s.
Now, it could become yet another luxury item. While a kilogram of beef is usually at least three times the price of chicken, there are already examples where pricing is on a par.
In Marks & Spencer, organic free-range chicken breasts and organic British beef rump steak are both £24.15 a kilogram.
A pack of two Tesco Finest beef rump steaks are £16.67 a kilogram, while its Finest corn-fed free range chicken fillets are £16.50.
Restaurants and takeaways specialising in chicken such as Nando’s and KFC have increased prices.Ten chicken wings with two sides at Nando’s rose from £14.95 to £15.45, then to £16 last month.
In the 23 months to March, the price of chicken rose by 19 per cent. By contrast, the cost of beef mince increased by three percent while a beef roasting joint increased by 11 per cent.
The cost of rearing a chicken has risen by 50 per cent in the past year alone due to the rocketing costs of the ingredients used to feed poultry.
Chicken feed is made up of ingredients such as soya, a by-product of sunflower oil called sunflower meal and wheat.
All of these ingredients have risen rapidly in recent months as a result of the war in Ukraine and poor harvests.
Ukraine accounts for half of all global sunflower oil trade, and Russia and Ukraine produce about a third of the global supply of wheat.
Mr Murrells, chief executive of The Co-operative Group, told The Retail & eCommerce directors’ forum, that customers may switch to veggie or vegan alternatives. “You could see a shift into more plant- based food,” he said.
“Customers will have to be savvy about what they can afford.”
Egg farmers are also struggling with the rising cost of chicken feed and say supermarket prices are not rising fast enough to compensate. In March, the average retail price for a dozen eggs was £2.47.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association is campaigning for an increase of at least 40p per dozen to be implemented immediately, or 80p per dozen for organic eggs, before businesses go bust.https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mirror.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fuk-news%2Fchicken-could-soon-become-pricey-26845302&cre=bottom&cip=35&view=web
Jen Turnball, 42, a dairy farmer based in Eden Valley, in Cumbria, said:
“I would lose less money shutting the place down and slaughtering healthy birds before their time because I cannot afford to feed them. Supermarkets are putting prices up but they’re not passing it on to the farmer or the producers so local family farmers are suffering.”
Asda chairman Lord Stuart Rose told BBC1’s Sunday Morning show: “The Government can’t sort out all the problems but the Government can do a few things. It could talk to industry… to make sure that we are cutting out every extra cost.” Labour leader Keir Starmer called for a £600 cut in energy bills funded by a one-off tax on oil and gas super profits to help families.
He said the cost of living has been the “number one issue” on the doorstep while campaigning for Thursday’s (MAY 5) local elections, adding that the Conservatives have said “absolutely nothing” about it.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said a windfall tax on oil and gas profits would be “arbitrary and unexpected”.
Meanwhile Supermarkets are slashing the prices of hundreds of products as customers face a cost-of-living crisis – with Asda and Morrisons reducing the cost of tea bags, eggs, meat and cereal by up to 13 per cent on average.
In total, the supermarket giant is slashing the prices of more than 100 of its most popular items, including cheddar cheese and rice, as part of the measures.
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