The UK is facing a looming chicken shortage and a potential fruit and vegetable crisis, industry experts have warned.
Many poultry owners are being forced to cut the size of their flocks due to rising costs.
The British Poultry Council warned: ‘Without a fair price for product, British poultry is at breaking point.
‘The price consumers pay for food does not reflect the cost of producing it. Such a system is unsustainable.’
The trade association’s chief executive Richard Griffiths added: ‘The drive to keep food affordable under exceptional market conditions where the cost of production is not being returned through the marketplace is rendering poultry meat businesses unviable.’
The council added: ‘Access to safe, affordable, nutritious food is always necessary, not just in the face of a cost-of-living crisis, but the focus on keeping prices low in this climate is understandable.
‘Doing so, however, fails to acknowledge large costs incurred elsewhere in our supply chain – energy, feed, labour, packaging, transport, and so on, all on top of ongoing Brexit and avian influenza challenges.
‘British poultry plays a crucial role in realising a vision for a UK food system that feeds people, contributes to their wellbeing, tackles social inequality, and ensures a liveable climate for all.
‘Things need to change for the sake of British food and farming. The fact that now is the hardest time for government to confront this problem is exactly why they should.’
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has warned there could be fruit and vegetable shortages as temperatures in Spain soar to record levels.
On the flipside, the UK season is off to a late start because of the cold spring.
Experts at the NFU warned recent salad shortages come from the UK’s reliance on imported fruit and veg.
Christine McDowell, from the NFU, said a rise in production costs has added to the problem.
‘British growers continue to face significant cost increases, such as energy and labour, and many simply can’t afford to keep producing food with the current returns.’
Several supermarkets were forced to limit the number of peppers customers could buy due to shortages last month.
There were similar issues earlier in the year when supermarkets were forced to ration fruit and veg on shelves.
KFC also ran out of chicken in 2018 and one woman was fuming so much she was forced to go to Burger King instead.
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