The news comes as chicken specialists Nando’s and KFC were reported to have suffered due to a lack of chicken supplies. Nando’s has even been forced to close a number of stores in order to restock supplies.
Lynx Purchasing said that the supply of poultry will affect the UK market and the pub sector.
Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing, said: “Most pub menus will have a chicken burger, chicken skewers, chicken Kiev or other prepared chicken products somewhere on the menu. It’s going to be important over the next few months to have a plan B if your usual supplier can’t meet demand, whether that’s an alternative product or speaking to other suppliers about availability.”
She added: “Poultry supply is a major concern as the impact of Covid continues to be seen globally. Demand is high across the board, and prices reflect this. As operators plan for Christmas, the best advice is to either place orders early to get the best pricing, or offer alternatives.”
This is not the first time that the issue of chicken supplies has been raised.
Only last month Ranjit Singh Boparan, founder and president at 2 Sisters Food Group, said the current challenges facing the sector were like no other he has seen in his 27 years as a food entrepreneur.
Boparan, who is also known as the “chicken king”, said it was a “perfect storm” and the food supply chain had deteriorated so profoundly that the supply of chicken and turkey was under threat.
“No one could possibly have predicted that this toxic cocktail would come together at this time,” he said.
Meanwhile, the British Poultry Council has warned that the industry is facing a significant shortage of workers across farming and processing with businesses reporting an average vacancy rate of over 16% of their total workforce.
British Poultry Council chief executive, Richard Griffiths, said that its members had been forced to cut back weekly chicken production by 5% to 10%, all year-round turkey production by 10% and estimates that Christmas turkey production to be cut down by a 20%.
“They are saying they are currently producing a reduced range of products for UK customers, and are seriously concerned that the supply of staple chicken products will be impacted. This is all down to labour shortages,” Griffiths said.
“When the heads of major food companies, and indeed entire food sectors, stand up and say we are in the worst position they have ever seen then it is beholden on our Government to fix this catastrophic debacle of their making. If that means relaxing immigration rules or accepting regulatory alignment with the EU, then these are the steps that must be taken to put British food on the road to recovery.”