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Australia: Chicken shortages in Australian poultry suppliers could spell scarecity at Woolworths and Coles

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An alarming shortage of chicken meat will be hitting supermarkets this holiday season, with the popular staple tipped to become more scarce in pubs and restaurants, industry experts warn.

Wholesaler Foodbomb said chicken prices are set to skyrocket by 12 per cent by Christmas, as farmers and meat plants drastically reduce their output.

The bird shortage, set to run well into the new year, is being caused by a perfect storm of domestic and international factors.

Russia's bloody invasion of Ukraine has seen petrol prices soar, triggering a global wheat shortage - the most common ingredient in chicken feed.

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Inflation is also driving poultry prices higher at a time when chicken producers on the heels of the Covid pandemic, have struggled to find enough workers.

The estimated 20 per cent decline in staff means farms and factories have been forced to raise less chicks.

It comes as potato supplies are also in trouble after wild weather in Victoria ravaged spud crops sparking a simultaneous hot chip crisis.

Wholesaler Foodbomb said chicken prices are set to skyrocket by 12 per cent in time for Christmas, amid higher than normal mortality rates and industry staff shortages  © Provided by Daily Mail Wholesaler Foodbomb said chicken prices are set to skyrocket by 12 per cent in time for Christmas, amid higher than normal mortality rates and industry staff shortages Jim Hoang from poultry distributor Master Poultry said in the last 30 years chicken has been consistently the same price, but recently the meat has been hitting record prices with suppliers © Provided by Daily Mail Jim Hoang from poultry distributor Master Poultry said in the last 30 years chicken has been consistently the same price, but recently the meat has been hitting record prices with suppliers

'The industry has never seen this before, because historically the prices go up and then they come down, but now they just keep going up,' Jim Hoang from poultry distributor Master Poultry said,

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'The price of feed is very high at the moment so producers reduce their farming so they don't have to feed and process as many chooks.

'I've had so many people calling asking me for prices and wanting to buy chicken, but we just don't have enough, not even for our regular customers.'

Nathan Lo Russo from Foodbomb said supermarkets and hospitality venues will see price hikes which will be passed onto customers.

'Historically, suppliers would absorb price increases, as they were minor and usually temporary, but now due to various factors like inflation and staff shortages those price increases are too high for suppliers to absorb alone,' Mr Lo Russo said.

'As a result, chicken prices will not come down for supermarkets, hospitality venues or food service businesses, they'll just keep going up to a point and then plateau, thus creating the new norm.'

Nathan Lo Russo from Foodbomb said supermarkets and hospitality venues will see price hikes as suppliers struggle with the rising prices, amid staff shortages and rising inflation © Provided by Daily Mail Nathan Lo Russo from Foodbomb said supermarkets and hospitality venues will see price hikes as suppliers struggle with the rising prices, amid staff shortages and rising inflation

Meanwhile, one of the largest providers, YCCC Poultry have reported higher than normal mortality rates that have wreaked havoc on supply.

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The Sydney-based chicken supplier, that produces 60 per cent of the country's poultry, would not reveal the reason why.

But the grim price warning has been played down by the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) who say Australians have nothing to worry about.

'The ACMF is not aware of any issues in chicken meat supply or any anomalies across the broader supply chain,' a spokeswoman said last week.

The Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) has played down the warnings saying Australians have nothing to worry about © Provided by Daily Mail The Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) has played down the warnings saying Australians have nothing to worry about 'Australians will be able to enjoy their favourite meat for Christmas and throughout the holiday season,' the ACMF said © Provided by Daily Mail 'Australians will be able to enjoy their favourite meat for Christmas and throughout the holiday season,' the ACMF said

'Australians will be able to enjoy their favourite meat for Christmas and throughout the holiday season.'

Coles said in a statement is has not been experiencing chicken shortages at the moment, while Woolworths referred to the ACMF's findings.

Meanwhile, the potato industry has also been grappling with shortages just weeks before Christmas, after rain caused delays to crops.

The delay has triggered a significant shortage on Australia's east and west coast, which has been exacerbated by rising fertiliser and transport costs.

Spud growers say the cost of producing the popular root vegetable has doubled, but supermarkets were unwilling to budge on prices.

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