This was the resounding message at the Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade in the EU countries’ (AVEC’s) annual meeting.
Paul Lopez, president of the organisation, told delegates that more premium and added-value products ought to be exported due to the export/import imbalance in the poultry sector, with imports costing €2.33 per kg to exports’ €1.37/kg.
“We are exporting less value than we are importing,” said Lopez.
“Because of this imbalance, we need to export high-value products. Europe is not only exporting to countries chicken feed, gizzards and whole birds, but the EU must also be able to sell and get value from high-value and added-value products.”
Lopez said the EU’s high standards of animal welfare must be highlighted to help it tap into international markets. “The standards have to be promoted and explained at an international level,” he commented. “We welcome the work already done, but more needs to be done.”
Country of origin transparency
Closer to home, within the EU, AVEC is calling for regulations to be made that will ensure country-of-origin labels are mandatory on EU products. According to Lopez, citizens are demanding more transparency and traceability following recent international scandals. He said: “We ask for labelling on origins – we need this information for our European citizens to be informed about the origin of the products.
“We call for sampling and testing of all containers imported from Brazil at the port of arrival in the EU – cost covered by the exporting companies.” From March 2017 to the end of May, 10% of shipments from Brazil were rejected.
Within the EU, consumption of poultry has shown a modest increase. Last year, 13,180,000 tons were consumed by the populations. This was up from 13,036,000 tons in 2015 and 12,725,000 in 2014.
Meanwhile, exports of EU poultry have been on a continuous rise since 2011, when they were at 1,290,000 tons. Last year, exports reached 1,425,000 tons, up from 1,397,000 the previous year.
Poland produced the most poultry in 2016 out of the EU-28, producing 2,486,000 tons. This was followed by France at 1,828,000 and Germany at 1,776,000. The 28 countries making up the EU produced a total of 14,808,000 tons in 2016, up from 14,246,000 the year previous.
Outside the EU, the US produced the most poultry at 21,009,000 tons, followed by China which produced 18,700,000 tons. However, this represented a decrease of one million in 2015.
AVEC’s annual meeting, attended by GlobalMeatNews, took place on Friday 22 September in Helsinki, Finland.