Chicken is still Britain's favourite meat by a consi-derable margin, despite claims by retailer Waitrose last week that fish had just become the top-selling protein in its outlets.

The poultry industry has been at pains to stress its substantial 43% share of the market and counteract contentious press reports last weekend that the Waitrose announcement applied to all the UK's major retailers.

"We eat almost twice as much chicken in Britain as we do fish, and sales are continuing to grow, in volume and value," said Charles Bourns, chairman of British Chicken Marketing.

"British chicken is still the nation's favourite - it is lower in fat and higher in protein than red meat, and is far more affordable than fish for the average family."

Waitrose, which accounts for 3.9% of the nation's grocery bill, said last week that it had seen fish sales jump by 20% year-on-year to some £180m, moving ahead of chicken for the first time in

a decade.

One fish in every 10 is now sold at the multiple.