UK’s biggest chicken firm warns prices to soar 10% due to supply issues

Ranjit Boparan, the founder of 2 Sisters Food Group, said the days of a £3 chicken are ‘coming to an end’.

Ranjit Boparan
Ranjit Boparan

The boss of the UK’s biggest poultry firm has warned that prices will jump by more than 10% as he said the days of a £3 chicken are “coming to an end”.

Ranjit Boparan, founder of 2 Sisters Food Group, said British shoppers are facing a “great food reset” on the back of soaring inflation across the sector, hitting costs including wages, energy and CO2.

Mr Boparan, who is widely known as the Chicken King, said the industry needs customers to recognise “transparent, honest pricing”.

He said: “The days when you could feed a family of four with a £3 chicken are coming to an end.

“This is a reset and we need to spell out what this will mean.

“Food is too cheap, there’s no point avoiding the issue. In relative terms, a chicken today is cheaper to buy than it was 20 years ago.

“How can it be right that a whole chicken costs less than a pint of beer?”

The company highlighted that the business’s 600 farms and 16 factories have witnessed energy costs more than 450% higher than this time last year.

It also said feed costs at farms have risen by 15%, with commodity costs in the farming process also rising by around 20%.

Meanwhile, the shortage of HGV drivers has also resulted in wage inflation as logistics firms seek to poach talent with higher wages.

2 Sisters is also among companies to have been hit heavily by the shortage of CO2 caused by soaring natural gas prices.

Although the Government secured that supply after significant disruption, the company said the price of CO2, which is used for packaging and poultry processing, has jumped by up to 500% in just three weeks.

Ronald Kers, chief executive of 2 Sisters, also told the PA news agency that recent supply disruption means fewer options for shoppers.

“We have had to cut down on range – a shortage of labour meant that more complicated items were just not sustainable for us to make,” he said.

“We are pleased the Government secured the seasonal worker visas because we are now able to get another 600 to 700 workers in to deal with busy demand ahead of Christmas.

“We would like this to be extended though. At the moment, many of these workers will only be contracted for around six weeks and, although turkey demand will fall after Christmas, we will have fewer workers in January when demand for chickens shoots up.

“Even just another six weeks extra for these workers would make a huge difference.”

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