November 15, 2016
Poultry and Egg Conference in Ireland analyses growth opportunities
Over 200 representatives from Ireland's poultry and egg sector gathered in Monaghan recently for Bord Bia's biennial Poultry and Egg Conference.
Themed "Innovation Supporting Sustainability", the conference brings together poultry growers, processors, egg producers and packers, and retailers. Delegates listened to industry experts on a wide range of topics, including consumer behaviour, market trends and ways to deliver sustainable growth in the sector.
Delivering his opening address, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, T.D. said: "The poultry and egg sector remains an integral part of the Irish agri-food economy and it is possibly the most dynamic in terms of evolving and meeting the challenges it faces. Output at producer prices in 2015 amounted to EUR190 million (US$289 million) and the value of poultry meat exports amounted to EUR320 million (US$344 million). On the back of increasing demand for poultry protein and low feed costs, the outlook for the sector is very positive for the remainder of 2016 and into next year."
Doyle added: "My department has a range of supports in place for the sector under our national EUR4 billion (US$4.3 billion) Rural Development Programme including Knowledge Transfer Groups and TAMs funding.  These will provide a key support to this sector in building its knowledge and skills base to underpin continued growth and competitiveness. I would encourage all eligible poultry producers to take advantage of the benefits this affords."
In keeping the conference theme, Bord Bia's poultry sector manager, Peter Duggan, briefed delegates on the upcoming sustainability additions to the Poultry and Egg Quality Assurance Scheme which are due to be rolled out in 2017 as part of Bord Bia's Origin Green sustainability programme. The scheme is currently being revised by representatives from Bord Bia, Teagasc, FSAI, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and industry. During his presentation, he referenced one study from the European Commission which shows that Ireland has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in the EU for poultry meat, demonstrating the industry's sustainability credentials.
The Irish poultry sector supports around 6,000 jobs and there are some 370 producers involved in poultry meat production in Ireland. Retail sales of poultry meat in Ireland are valued at EUR275 million (US$296 million), showing an increase of over 10% on the previous year. Ireland exports 129,000 tonnes, with the UK market accounting for 70% of shipments, which mainly consists of processed product, while other key markets include France and the Netherlands. Rivalled only by pork, poultry is the single largest category of meat consumed in Ireland, accounting for some 37% of meat consumption.
There are almost 240 producers involved in egg production in Ireland and over 3.3 million laying hens.  The retail sales of eggs in Ireland are valued at EUR100 million (US$107.5 million) with the average consumer eating 169 eggs a year. Most of the recent growth in egg consumption is in the younger demographic where there frequency of purchase continues to increase.
Peter Duggan, Bord Bia's poultry sector manager, also outlined Bord Bia's plans for marketing promotions under the Quality Mark. "With almost 96% of all poultry and egg producer members of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme, a strong and resilient home market is critically important for the success of the industry. The Bord Bia Egg Quality Assurance Scheme forms the benchmark for quality and safety in Irish eggs. A recent survey of Irish grocery shoppers by Red C illustrated that 80% of consumers say they would be more likely to buy eggs with the Quality Mark and 65% willing to pay 10% more for quality assured eggs. Since 2006, consumer awareness of Bord Bia's Quality Mark has grown from 62% to 91% this year. Bord Bia will continue to work with all members of the industry to promote Bord Bia Quality Assured poultry and egg products, and, over the coming weeks, will promote the vast range of Quality Mark produce to increase awareness and purchase frequency during the Christmas season."

- Bord Bia

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