UK poultry supplier Rectory Foods, which also has a growing business in vegetables and food ingredients, posted an 18% increase in sales last year. However, chicken from Asia and South America was becoming harder to source at prices buyers had become accustomed to, said md Charles Woolley.
"Local wages are rising and people are eating a more westernised diet, feed prices and crude oil prices are still relatively high and the Middle East and Africa are paying higher prices than Europe for chicken and chicken cuts. The euro and the pound are also relatively weak versus the dollar, so Brazilian meat is more expensive and less is being shipped to Europe. The Thai market is also suffering from a live bird decrease for 2010."
While the weak pound had put pressure on margins, this was partially offset by Rectory's export sales, said Woolley. "About half of our volume is exports."