Brits will be eating more imported chicken by 2012, from birds bred to be more efficient, according to a controversial new research paper for Harper Adams' Temperton Fellowship.

Europeans will each be eating an extra 1kg of meat per year, according to research author Ken Laughlin - also group vice president of chicken breeder Aviagen. But he said most of the increase would be in chicken from Brazil, China and the US rather than from British or EU producers. His findings are at odds with the trend for more local and 'natural' meat.

"The green agenda in the UK will slow down the migration of the UK industry, but it will not stop it," he said. Problems such as the carbon footprint of imports and low bird welfare should be tackled through breeding, Laughlin added

"DNA profiling can help fight bird flu and other ailments," he said. "Breeding can cover issues such as skeletal growth, immune response, heart and lung fitness and disease."