Rotisserie chicken tax could cost industry millions
Published:  17 September, 2012

Introducing VAT on whole rotisserie chickens could cost the poultry sector £17m in lost sales, according to research carried out by Morrisons.

The supermarket carried out a trial to see how customers would react to adding 20% to the cost of whole rotisserie chickens and found that sales dropped by 9%. This would translate to 73,000 fewer chickens sold a week in British supermarkets, suggesting farmers could miss out on four million chicken sales per year if the tax was introduced.

The research was carried out as part of a joint ‘Don’t Tax Our Roast’ campaign launched by Morrisons and the British Poultry Council in opposition to new rules introduced in the March budget, which will add VAT to all food that is sold hot as takeaway food.

The campaign argues that people do not eat rotisserie chickens in the same way as other hot takeaway food, with many families using them as the basis for their main meal.

Peter Bradnock of the BPC said: “This chicken tax will take £34m out of the already hard-hit pockets of shoppers wanting to buy British chicken freshly cooked in store. Sales lost could be as much as £17m or around four million birds a year. This is a very high cost to consumers and chicken farmers alike for only a relatively tiny tax gain in the government coffers. It is disproportionate and the fact that it singles out only rotisserie chicken in the supermarket makes it doubly unjust.”
Jamie Winter, fresh food director at Morrisons, added: “This research proves that government attempts to release foods caught by this ‘one size fits all’ tax simply do not work. Our customers want the reassurance that chickens are freshly cooked and our research shows that they cannot afford to pay more for what is just a normal part of their weekly shop.”

The campaign has launched a petition against the tax, which is available online at www.donttaxourroast.co.uk