Chicken prices in B.C. could go up with latest farm board move

Click to play video: 'British Columbians will pay more for chicken'
British Columbians will pay more for chicken
British Columbians could be paying more for chicken after a decision by the province's Farm Industry Review Board. As Kristen Robinson reports, a new pricing formula at the farm level could end up coming out of consumers' pockets – May 23, 2024

The price of chicken in B.C. could climb higher due to a decision made by the province’s farm industry review board.

The board approved a proposal that will impact the farm-level price of poultry, which could lead to higher costs for consumers at the grocery store and when dining out.

The BC Chicken Marketing Board brought forward the proposal and said it’s a “new pricing formula” and not a price increase.

“The pricing formula is based on cost recovery for an efficient grower of BC chicken,” said Woody Siemens, the BC Chicken Marketing Board’s executive director.

“The chicken board sets the minimum farmgate price, the price a farmer receives for growing chicken.”

The board said it does not control retail prices, restaurant prices or prices set by processors.

Story continues below advertisement

“Under supply management, farmers receive a set price for the food they produce, which represents a fraction of the final price,” Siemens said.

Siemens said the largest cost for chicken farmers is the price of feed, which has increased substantially for farmers.

The price a farmer is paid for chicken closely tracks feed prices, according to the board.

Click to play video: 'B.C. chicken prices could be on their way up'
B.C. chicken prices could be on their way up

“It is important to note that the live price of chicken that a farmer receives in B.C. has decreased by 12 cents per kilogram compared to a year ago, which is a decrease of -5.65 per cent,” Siemens said.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

However, a CEO of a small restaurant chain said his prices for chicken have gone up by 18 per cent in two years. Adeel Jahangir, CEO of Chicken World Canada, said he has had to increase by nearly six per cent to keep up with the rising cost.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s going to be very difficult to carry on with the same pace,” he told Global News.

Chickens in the Lower Mainland average between $9 and $11 per kilogram.

B.C. wholesale and retail chicken prices are already on average the highest in the country, according to Restaurants Canada. It said it purchases about 40 per cent of all B.C.-grown chicken.

Restaurants Canada said consumers should be anticipating to pay more.

“When we initially heard about the proposal for a 17 -to 25-cent increase per kilo of live chicken, we extrapolated through the process that (it) would roughly result in about a 10 per cent increase in the next year,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s vice-president.

Across the border in Bellingham, Wash., a whole chicken often sells for less than C$4 per kilogram.

“It’s hard for us to even survive if we do not increase prices at all,” Jahangir said.

With the cost of living already so high, Chicken World’s CEO hopes the government will consider incentives to ease any more poultry price pain.

Dalhousie Agri-Food Analytics Lab director Sylvain Charlebois told Global News it will be the first time in B.C. that chicken will be priced through a B.C.-based formula. Before, prices were set in Ontario.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Thieves steal ‘Snowflake’ the chicken from North Vancouver backyard'
Thieves steal ‘Snowflake’ the chicken from North Vancouver backyard

Sponsored content