NEW DELHI: With consumers refusing to bite into chicken from open markets due to the bird flu scare, top hatcheries across India have witnessed a 15-25% impact on sales, while online retailers said there has been no significant dent in business due to the hygiene protocols they maintain.
“Last week, the impact was greater, to the tune of around 30%,” said B Soundararajan, chairman & MD of Coimbatore-based Suguna Holdings, one of the largest poultry companies in India. “This week, however, there has been an uptick in sales and we are seeing an impact of around 15-20%.”
For the domestic poultry industry, which has been reeling from jolt of Covid-19 pandemic with most hotels and restaurants not fully operational, the bird flu has come as a double whammy, with 40% of the industry dependent on hotels, restaurants and cafes (HoReCa) sales, while the rest caters directly to consumers.
“The government has been proactive and I don’t see the impact lasting as long as one that happened during the last bird flu scare,” said Prasun Kumar Roy, MD at Arambagh Hatcheries, a leading poultry company in East India. “We have also put in place measures such as covering the farms, which reduces the chances of infection.”
Online retailers of fresh meat and seafood, however, said there has been minimum impact on sales. “Bird flu has had no impact on sales,” said Shan Kadavil, co-founder and CEO at Freshtohome.
“All commercial poultry is grown under extremely safe and bio-secure environments which is particularly relevant in light of the fact that migratory birds which are the source of the infection do not come in contact with commercial poultry.