NEW DELHI: Chicken and egg consumption in the country has started rising significantly, and is likely to reach 70 per cent of the pre-Covid level in the current quarter, companies and trade bodies said.
Demand had crashed when the epidemic began, forcing some poultry farmers to stop operations, but consumer demand started picking up from July and it will gather pace after the Navratras and with the onset of winters, they said.
“We expect consumption to be back to about 70 per cent in October to December and almost 90 per cent by Jan- March 21,” said BS Yadav, MD Godrej Agrovet, a compound animal feed company whose poultry arm, Godrej Tyson Foods sells 600,000 fresh and frozen chicken every week.
“There is improved consumption as several hotels and restaurants have come back in business due to home delivery options. The prices of chicken and eggs have also started going up due to this,” he said.
Farmers have started getting a much better price for chicken now. Earlier, prices had crashed as people had started avoiding poultry products when the pandemic began. The average weekly consumption of chicken in the country is 75 million birds of average weight of 2 kg.
Consumer confidence has increased and there is an increase in people dining out, Suguna Poultry Farms’ managing director GB Sundararajan told ET.
"Demand from hotels and restaurants had seen a major drop, which we now see reviving. Also, after Covid, consumers' perception on eating chicken has changed and they see it as an immunity booster. Consumption has reached 57 per cent to 60 per cent of the pre-Covid time and we are confident that it will reach over 70 per cent in the next quarter,” said Sundararajan. He said chicken prices in the wholesale markets have increased by 80 per cent to 87 per cent to Rs 150- Rs 180 a kg in the past five .
Demand for eggs has also increased and it was reflected in the prices as well, said Harish Juneja, former chairman for Delhi zone National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), the nodal agency of all farmers in the broiler and layer industries. “The industry is coming back and poultry farms which were shut down in April- May are again starting operations. A crate of 30 eggs is currently being sold at Rs 140 which is a 75 per cent increase from its bottom prices in March-April. We can expect another 30 per cent increase in the next quarter,” he said.
Source: THE ECONOMIC TIMES