UK pigmeat trade reverts to pre-pandemic levels

UK pigmeat trade reverts to pre-pandemic levels

Growth in July for UK pigmeat exports has recorded a 9% increase compared to last year and is “almost” level with exports for the same period in 2020, according to new figures.

Reported by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), total exports of pig meat from the UK also increased 5% in July 2022, compared to June 2022, totalling 29,600 tonnes, a 4% increase year-on-year.

Although growth in fresh and frozen pork has been smaller (up 2%), it remains the largest product category for exports, with a 53% market share so far in 2022. Growth in offal exports is up 11% year-on-year to a record high of 84,300 tonnes, increasing its market share to 38%.

After contracting in 2021 post-Brexit, export volumes of bacon and processed pork have increased back to pre-pandemic volumes.

In comparison, AHDB said exports to China in July are down by 12% compared to the same month last year, and exports from China have significantly decreased by 45% compared to July 2020 apparently due to China’s increased pig population.

Imports of pig meat have also been on the rise this year, with a 1% increase in July from June and is up 4% compared to July last year. For the year-to-date, imports of pig meat to the UK have grown 19% year-on-year, surpassing levels recorded for the past two years. Most of this growth has occurred in the bacon and sausage categories.

Lower than expected

AHDB explained in its latest Outlook report, that domestic production of pig meat is forecast to fall around 6% by the end of 2022 which would further tighten supplies to the market.

The organisation added: “It was assumed that this would lead to increased imports to meet demand. However, as the pound currently weakens, imports could be lower than expected as they become more expensive.

“Demand may also be lower than the forecast drop of 2% as the cost-of-living crisis is exacerbated by rising inflation rates and weaker currency.”

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