The Dutch production costs for growing and slaughtering broilers is comparable with Germany but lower than those in France and the United Kingdom (UK). In comparison with Polish competition, the production costs are higher. In order to remain competitive, the Dutch product will have to distinguish itself on the basis of more sustainable production with a higher level of animal welfare and food safety. This was demonstrated by a study performed by LEI Wageningen UR examining the competitiveness of the Dutch poultry meat sector on the instructions of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Product Board for Poultry and Eggs.
Photo: De Beeldkuil/Marcel Bekken
This study examined the position of the Dutch poultry chain compared to the most important competitors. More than half of Dutch poultry is exported, with Germany, the UK and France forming the most important destinations. The Dutch poultry chain is characterised by a lower feed price, good technical results in the primary sector, and an efficient chain organisation for the slaughterhouses that is able to serve the retail markets well. Unfavourable aspects are the manure disposal costs and the higher energy costs (energy taxes).
The comparison has been made for conventionally-produced poultry meat. In north-western Europe, production is increasing in the intermediate segment. In the Netherlands, this primarily relates to production under the Beter Leven (‘Better Life’) quality mark, i.e. various levels of alternative broilers such as extensive indoor systems . Poultry is also distinguished in this manner in Germany, the UK, and France. The farming requirements vary slightly between countries. The increasing demand for poultry produced in a more sustainable and animal-friendly manner within the north-west European consumer market results in additional requirements but also offers additional opportunities for the Dutch sector.
The Dutch and European poultry chain encounters all kinds of regulations in the field of animal welfare, the environment, and food safety. The share of costs directly related to Dutch and European legislation in 2011 was almost 7%. A substantial proportion of these costs also applies to other EU countries as European legislation is involved. Countries outside the EU, such as Brazil and Thailand, do not have such legislation in place and are able to produce poultry more cheaply than in Europe. In the current situation, import levies and import quotas protect the EU against large-scale imports of poultry meat from other countries.