Six out of 10 BPC members canvassed in the half-yearly survey reported that feed prices had stabilised over the period, reducing the cost of production.
In addition, four in 10 reported production levels had slightly increased over the past six months. Participants in the survey included BPC members Bernard Matthews, Cargill Meats Europe and Faccenda Group.
The industry continued to invest in core training and skills, particularly among young people. More than three-quarters (78%) of members said they had a formal apprenticeship scheme in place, up from half in summer 2013.
Skills base increased
All respondents said they were on track to recruit the number of apprentices outlined in their business plan. In addition, 44% said the skills base within their organisation had increased over the past six months.
Meanwhile, confidence in the industry’s future was stable, according to the surveys results. Seven out of 10 BPC members said they felt “about the same” as they did six months ago on how they viewed the industry’s prospects.
Members indicated they felt more confident than six months ago about the future of their business than about the whole industry, but no one felt less confident about their business or the industry.
However, BPC members slammed the government for not doing enough to support export initiatives. The BPC said only a quarter of its members thought the government was doing enough to back them in the exports arena.
Unsure what the government was doing
Half were unsure what the government was doing, while a quarter believed it should be doing more.
“The British poultry industry’s prospects remain broadly positive, with a welcome reduction in feed costs recently,” said BPC chief executive Andrew Large.
However, he added: “While domestic demand remains strong, increasing exports is an important priority if the industry is to thrive in the future.
“We welcome the commitment of Owen Paterson MP, secretary of state for environment, farming and rural affairs, to grow UK poultry exports and remove the burdens which are holding them back.
“Yet while the political will exists, DEFRA [the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs] is suffering from staffing issues which have negatively affected its ability to efficiently process veterinary health certificates in priority markets. These are holding back the UK poultry industry’s ability to sell more internationally.”
The BPC survey was conducted between January 6 and January 20 2014.