Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 February 2018

Eggs, poultry should be superfoods, says expert

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Poultry and eggs should be considered as superfoods, Bord Bia's Poultry and Egg Conference in Monaghan was told last week.

Professor Paddy Wall of UCD pointed out that both poultry meat and eggs were versatile and affordable protein sources.

"The nutritional composition of both is suited to Irish lifestyles," Prof Wall told the conference.

"Eggs and poultry are among the best dietary sources of protein, necessary for growth and repair; playing an important role in a healthy balanced diet," the food specialist added.

A panel of high-profile Irish and international speakers focused on key topical items including international prospects, feed supply, future direction of the industry, poultry litter disposal, consumer needs and new marketing trends.

Delegates heard that the volume of eggs and poultry sold in Irish retail outlets over the past year had increased by 5pc and 6pc respectively. The Irish retail egg market is now worth €79m annually, while chicken sales valued at €175m.

The one-day conference, held in association with the Irish Poultry and Egg Industry in the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan, attracted over 200 delegates, ranging from poultry growers, processors, egg producers and packers to millers and retailers.

Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter insisted that the poultry and egg sector remained a valuable and integral part of the Irish agricultural economy, with output at farm level estimated at €150m in 2009. This figure is made up of €120m from poultry meat and €30m from eggs.

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"The sector is a significant employer in rural Ireland with over 6,000 people employed in poultry processing and egg packing and up to a further 850 farms involved in the production of poultry and eggs," Mr Cotter pointed out.

Ireland has one of the highest levels of poultry meat consumption within the EU, with in excess of 30kg per capita consumed and this volume is increasing, with annual chicken sales up by 5pc over the past year.

However, one of the greatest issues for the poultry meat sector is the level of imports, which continue to exert downward pressure on the market and the indigenous Irish poultry industry.

Irish Independent