The EU is among the top four chicken meat producers in the world, with the United States, Brazil and China. Poultry meat production and consumption have been increasing steadily for many years in the EU and throughout the world, as poultry meat presents many advantages compared with other types of meat. Demand for meat is generally increasing in the world because of population growth, rising income and urbanisation. The poultry sector makes a substantial contribution to food security and nutrition, providing energy, proteins and essential nutrients to human beings.
The EU’s main import countries are Brazil, Thailand, Ukraine, Chile and China. In 2018, the EU imported 813 000 tonnes of poultry meat (carcass weight equivalent – CWE).
In 2018, EU’s main export destinations were South Africa, Benin, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Ukraine and the Philippines. EU exports amounted to 1.78 million tonnes CWE. EU exports generally show flexibility in destinations and products.
International trade in eggs is relatively small compared to poultry meat, mainly because it is impossible to freeze them for transport over long distances.
Figure 4 shows a large surplus in the EU trade balance for poultry in volume. When considering the value of the goods traded, EU imports and exports are nearly balanced (Figure 5), owing to the fact that the EU imports high value products, including breast meat and poultry preparations, and exports cuts with a significantly lower average value.