News 25 April 2021

Avian flu outbreak could cause a chicken shortage in the UK

25 April 2021

A poultry supplier has warned that a chicken shortage is heading to the UK after an outbreak of avian flu in Europe.

Poultry supplier Birtwistles has said that stock of chicken cuts such as breast fillets are down by 40 per cent.

According to The I, Glenn Eastwood, managing director of the supplier sent a letter to customers and said that it was “urgent and necessary” to warn businesses about the looming shortages which are set to last at least 12 weeks.

The shortage comes as 20 million chickens were slaughtered last week in Poland which is Europe’s biggest poultry supplier.

Eastwood said, “We warned our customers – we’re going to be into some challenging times over the coming weeks. I don’t want to alarm customers because we will work to fulfill orders – they just might be altered slightly. What we’re saying is there might be a depressed market for some time.

“The UK supply chain is OK, but demand will go up, and it’s already stretched.”

This news comes as Americans struggle with a national chicken wing shortage due to the pandemic, increased demand over the Super Bowl period and a decrease in available processing plants.

On the shortage, National Chicken Council spokesman Tom Super said, “If you think about it, restaurants like wing joints and pizza places were built around takeout and delivery, so they didn’t have to change their business model that much during the pandemic.

“Wings travel well and hold up during delivery conditions.

“Plus, they align with consumer desire for comfort food during the pandemic.

“Chicken production remained steady in 2020, and as long as people are sitting around watching TV and maybe drinking a beer, wings will remain in the game. Don’t forget the air fryer revolution, either.”