Japan’s pig meat imports fall

Japanese pig meat imports (inc. offal) totalled 244,800 tonnes in the first quarter of 2021 (January – March), dropping back 6% compared to the same period in 2020, according to AHDB’s Bronwyn Magee.

Significant declines were seen in shipments from the US, falling 9% (8,600 tonnes) year-on-year in the three month period, to total 89,000 tonnes. I

mports from Spain fell by 4,900 tonnes (19%), and German volumes fell significantly, a result of the ASF related ban imposed last September. Ms Magee said that industry reports suggest this ban could remain in place for the rest of the year, as ‘Japan does not generally import from countries affected by ASF.’

However, it did recently agree a regional approach to trading with Hungary, following two years of negotiation.

Meanwhile, shipments from Denmark (+12%) and Canada (+5%) lifted, although this was not enough to outweigh losses from other suppliers.

Looking at the product mix, imports of fresh pork lifted 2% on the year, while frozen (-9%), processed (-15%) and offal (-20%) all saw declines.

“According to industry reports, fresh pork is usually sold through retail, while frozen pork is sold via foodservice,” said Ms Magee. “As such, disruption to eating out resulting from COVID-19 seems to have shifted demand away from frozen to fresh/chilled pork. However, this has not been enough to grow import demand overall.”

She added that the USDA expects Japanese pork consumption to remain relatively steady on last year’s levels or 2021, with foodservice sales anticipated to remain weak in the first half of 2021, and that imports are anticipated to lift by just 1% on 2020.

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