Pork sector advised on burgeoning markets in Asia

Chicken exports are 'the big winner' for the UK meat industry internationally, amid continued opportunities for pork in China, delegates at a recent trade conference heard. 

At the ‘Pigs 2022: The Opportunities’ two-day conference organised by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Pork, speakers from the UK, Danish and US industries gathered for the event, where they discussed what the forecast for the next five years is looking like for the industry. The opportunities in the Far East were highlighted to delegates, with the UK pig sector being told to position itself to approach these burgeoning markets.

A country of particular interest as an area of opportunity was China which, according to Richard Brown, director of international food consultancy GIRA, currently accounts for 27% of worldwide pig trade.

It was also noted by Brown that there had been a rise in meat consumption worldwide and he said that while chicken was the “big winner”, pork was also performing well.

According to vice-president of the National Pork Producers Council in America, Nicholas Giordano, the US is also eyeing up Asia for opportunities. He said there were hopes to expand the pig industry within the US, which currently has around 60,000 producers.

Other speakers included Adam Couch, chief executive of Cranswick Country Foods, who said that Brexit was the industry’s biggest challenge. Connor McVeigh, UK supply chain director at McDonald’s, gave an insight into consumer demands, mentioning bacon as a customer favourite.

AHDB Pork chairman Mike Sheldon said: “A priority for us all is to understand what our competitors are doing, where they are innovating, where they are investing and what technologies they are adopting. This is about making sure that none of our competitors is successful in trying to eat our lunch; it’s about making sure we take advantage of the latest thinking, wherever it originates.

“Having understood what is going on elsewhere, that knowledge is only useful if we act here in our industry and that action requires courage, speed and imagination.”

On the second day of the conference, attendees heard how the sector can benefit from innovation in areas such as animal health and welfare, hygiene and pig buildings.

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