As we are all too aware, it has, again, been a challenging time in the pig industry and I’m sure everyone is enjoying some let-up, offered by the increased market price.
However, my concern is whether this is currency-driven, and how sustainable the increased market price will be.
For the week commencing October 9, Kantar reported the total fresh pork market value (including pre-pack and counter pork) was 9.3 per cent down year-on-year on 2015, while the total volume of fresh pork purchased is also down by 3 per cent year-on-year.
The fresh pork market is suffering, as it has fewer shoppers who are buying pork less frequently. When they do, they buy at a cheaper price: hence declining sales at a greater rate than volume.
So, although farmgate prices have had a positive uplift, what can we do, as an industry, to ensure we have a sustainable future with a healthy market price?
This is not a new question and has been asked many times before. And we have seen AHDB Pork, NPA and Ladies In Pigs, to mention just a few, doing some great promotion on how to better cook pork.
Health and convenience is a big factor for today’s consumer, so maybe the answer is to create a celery-inspired sausage, one that burns calories as you eat it and can be consumed on-the-go.
“The fresh pork market is suffering, as it has fewer shoppers who are buying pork less frequently. When they do, they buy at a cheaper price”
On a lighter note, I was delighted to attend the third annual National Pig Awards at the Lancaster, in London.
Although, as already mentioned, the industry faces some challenges, it was great to see everyone in such high spirits. All the finalists and winners had fantastic stories, which highlighted to me the commitment and talent that exists across our industry.
Former England cricketer and national selector Geoff Miller got the evening off to an enthusiastic start with his tales from the sport, while Hazel Irvine did a great job of presenting the awards.
Her pig-related puns went down very well!
Finally, December 8 sees the return of the much-anticipated YNPA national meeting in London, definitely not to be missed if you are a ‘young person’ in the pig industry.
With a theme this year of ‘consumer is king’, Gavin Hodgson, Sainsbury’s agriculture manager, will speak about the challenges and opportunities he sees for the pork sector.
Mark Hayward will also share insights into how he built his successful Dingley Dell Pork brand, in addition to presentations from JSR and Devenish. It looks set to be a very interesting day and provide inspiration for tackling some of the challenges highlighted above.
Thanks must go to A-One Feed Supplements Ltd, for sponsoring the event.