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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Recent advances in poultry production and possible future changes

INRA Prod. Anim., 1(3), 155-163.


INRA Nouzilly, Station de Recherches Avicoles, 37380 Monnaie

French poultry production receives no subsidies from the E.E.C. and is organized as a series of compagnies specializing in one or other poultry products, such as eggs or oven-ready fowl. It may be argued that these firms have attained their position as market leaders by a careful control of production costs, basing their operations on a system of contracts with their suppliers. This has enabled them to respond quickly to the needs of the market and they remain attentive to changes in consumer demand. A notable reduction in feed costs has been achieved in the Netherlands by the use of cereal substitutes such as manioc and corn gluten feed in layer ration formulation. The Dutch, aware of the competitive edge this has provided, have exported more than 50 % of their egg production, mainly to West Germany, aided by efficient technical and commercial departments capable of handling export markets. However, a fall in exports to countries outside the E.E.C. caused a fall in prices which were re-established after cutbacks in production by Germany, England and Belgium. This crisis lasted for almost three years and had the following consequences in France : 1. A slight drop in total production, 2. A slight shift in the siting of production units near the large centres of population and the cereal-producing regions, 3. The amalgamation of small, independent firms forming national concerns. Having established national brand names, these groups concentrated on improving the quality of their products, promoting them and advertising them. They have also attempted to diversify by adapting their products to different market niches. The spectacular development of the poultry meat market can be explained by a series of related factors. At the production level, regrouping flocks, specializing in one activity, establishing the slaughterhouse as the site of decision-making and contract work have all brought about savings and increased productivity. Improvements in hygiene, and the use of better breeds coupled with advances in rearing and growing techniques have contributed to the attractive price of poultry products compared to other meat. In addition, poultry firms have diversified the number of species and have been quick to satisfy new consumer demands. In particular, they have increased the number and type of cut joints and precooked dishes. While this has occured mainly on the French market, a similar tendency is apparent on the export E.E.C. market. Poultry producers confidently predict that, as a result of the excellent dietary qualities of poultry meat (notably its low fat content), there will be sustained, high growth in the market for precooked and for transformed products, such as « pâtés », over the next ten years.

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