Pigmeat consumption in the EU rose marginally last year to an estimated 40kg per person, climbing for the first in three years, according to a provisional assessment by BPEX.
Despite the 2014 increase, however, pigmeat consumption is still more than 3kg per person below the level reached prior to the global economic slowdown. BPEX suggests this indicates that “consumer confidence remains low” and is therefore continuing to have a constraining influence of meat purchases.
Looking beyond the average figures, BPEX points out that pigmeat consumption levels vary widely across Europe, being headed by Austrian consumers at over 55kg per head with the UK still bottom of the list at just 24kg per head.
“UK consumption was broadly stable in 2014 at around 24kg, well below the EU average and among the lowest of all member states,” said BPEX. “This is partly because of relatively high consumption of other meats, such as chicken, beef and lamb, in the UK. Across most of the rest of Europe, pigmeat is generally the leading source of protein and consumption levels are higher.
“Among the larger member states, consumption was highest in Austria, Germany, Poland and Spain. In each of these, there was twice as much pigmeat per person available to be eaten as in the UK, at over 50kg per head, and all four recorded increased supplies for consumption in 2014.
“Italy was the most important country to record reduced supplies, although it should be noted that there is doubt about the accuracy of some of the Italian statistics.”