China has overtaken Germany as the second largest importer of UK pigmeat and might, in reality, already be ahead of Ireland as the leading destination, due to additional sales passing through Denmark, according to AHDB Pork.
The organisation also reports positive prospects for further export growth as some countries, including China, are “expected to face a meat shortfall by 2020″.
In terms of direct UK exports, Ireland is on 21%, China on 18% and Germany on 12%. China is also a “high demand” outlet for frozen cuts, however, which is a key market for the less domestically desirable parts of the pig, including offal.
In the year ending September 2015, China imported 22,800 tonnes of UK pig offal, a 54% increase on the year and a total share of all offal exports of 45%.
“UK pigmeat exports are of great value to the industry as they increase overall demand for UK pigmeat, providing support to prices throughout the supply chain,” said AHDB Pork. “Although all export opportunities for UK pigmeat should be seen positively, being able to sustain supply to China and open up other developing markets has strong strategic benefits for the UK.
“As demand grows faster than production, many countries, including China, are expected to face a meat shortfall by 2020 and this may provide further opportunities for the UK, as its higher welfare standards may appeal to some consumers.
“The expected conclusion of a deal to export trotters to China will also add to the opportunities.”