Exports have played a major role in the recent development of the UK pig industry, according to a new BPEX report on the changing mix of UK pig meat exports.
Total pig meat shipments have gone from a low of 111,000 tonnes shipped weight in 2003 to 259,000 tonnes last year, it reported. The organisation also looked at changing trends in the mix of exports, explaining how this was affecting the industry and commented on which markets are currently growing in export importance for the UK.
“Export growth delivers value to the UK pig industry in two key ways,” said BPEX. “First, it increases the overall demand for UK pig meat and diversifies the customer base. This helps to strengthen prices throughout the supply chain.
“Second, it provides markets for products for which there is little or no demand from the domestic market, thereby increasing the value of the carcase as a whole. Therefore, maintaining and developing export markets should continue to be a priority.”
On product mix, it reported a 70% total volume share of exports being taken by fresh/frozen pork, predominantly consisting of cuts where domestic demand is “insufficient to match supply levels”. Of the remainder, just over half is offal, with the rest made up of cured and processed products.
Concerning export market trends, BPEX commented: “Taking all edible pig meat products together, Ireland is the UK’s largest export market. It played a key role in export growth up to 2010 but, as with the rest of the EU, shipments have stabilised since. Recent growth has been dominated by non-EU markets and particularly China. Last year, China moved up two places in the league table of export markets to third; so far this year it is second behind Ireland.”