Of our most common animals for meat consumption, the broiler chicken is the most efficient in converting cereal and protein feed to meat. In Swedish poultry production, 1.6-1.75 kg of feed is needed to produce 1 kg of chicken, which results in emissions of 2-3 kg CO2e per kg of boneless meat*. Chicken thereby causes low emissions of greenhouse gases per kg of meat in comparison to other types of meat.
In the production of broiler chicken, the feed accounts for more than two-thirds of the total greenhouse gas emissions, which means that the feed consumption per kilo of meat and feed types affects the climate impact of the meat. Animal health also influences the environmental and climate impact. A low mortality and healthy animals lead to lower environmental and climate impact per kg meat produced.
Furthermore, according to Article 13 of the TFEU Treaty, the Union and the Member States, in formulating and implementing the Union's policies, shall pay full regard to the welfare of animals as sentient beings. Establishing criteria for animal protection and health in the procurement of poultry can therefore contribute to a reduced environmental and climate impact.
The production of broiler chicken is relatively similar around the world but with different requirements regarding animal care, animal health and disease control. Chickens are bred to about 1.3-4 kg and slaughtered at around five to six weeks of age. In the organic production of chicken, the animals must have access to the outdoors and the feed must be organically produced. The breeding time is longer which implies more feed per kilo meat produced. The slaughter of organically produced broiler chicken occurs at 81 days if conventional breeds are used.
The consumption of chicken has been increasing for a long time. Production in Sweden has also increased, as well as the import. The import of poultry mainly comes from Denmark according to the Swedish Board of Agriculture but also from Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Latvia and from countries outside of the EU such as Thailand and Brazil.
Over time the import of poultry has increased more than the export and consumption has increased more than production. In 2017 the import of poultry decreased for the first time since 2009 except for fresh cuts which increased with 18%. The Swedish export of poultry increased. **
Breeding of turkey is similar to breeding of broiler chicken. Both production and consumption of turkey in Sweden is relatively low but increasing.
*National Food Agency, Sweden (2018), Svensk Fågel (2018)
**Swedish Board of Agriculture market report poultry (2018)
Subject of procurement
Chicken meat with environmental and animal protection requirements.