China’s appetite for UK pork continues to grow

China is now the biggest market for UK pork exports outside of Europe, according to AHDB Pork, with strong demand for offal likely to continue to grow. 

According to Jean-Pierre Garnier, AHDB Pork’s export manager, the current Chinese market remains full of opportunity. “The conditions in China are favourable. Prices have been rising and there’s not a lot of pork available on the market at the moment. We cannot say forever, but for the foreseeable future we can see strong growth.”

It is estimated that China consumes half the pork in the world, he added. However, there is still work to do to ensure that the value of exports keep pace with volumes. “It is important to us to improve the value of what we export to China in terms of added value and making more branded products, as well as better packaging, to make it better for the consumer,” said Garnier.

At the moment, the UK exports 28% of the pork it produces. In the month of August, both imports and exports of the meat increased. At just over 30,000 tonnes, pork imports were 8% higher than they were in August last year.

Spain has experienced a 50% rise in export volumes of pork to the UK, according to the levy board. Belgium and Denmark are also key suppliers of the meat, with both countries seeing a 14% rise.

Imports and exports remain a key area for progression, but pig slaughterings in the EU aren’t experiencing the same growth.

Although a rise in slaughterings is expected to continue until at least the middle of next year, they have slowed compared to the first half of 2015, according to AHDB Pork.

This conclusion is constructed around an analysis of figures presented by the European Commission’s pigmeat forecast working group. A report from the levy board highlighted that: “Pig slaughterings are forecast to rise by around 2% year on year in the second half of 2015, with growth slowing to around 1% in the first half of 2016.”

Furthermore, it said that many member states are predicting that pig levels will remain similar to year earlier levels. The strong growth by Spanish output is set to outweigh this stability, though this may also begin to relax by the second quarter of next year.

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