German pig meat demand under pressure

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Consumer demand for pig meat in Germany has been under considerable pressure in the last five years. Recent data published by the German market information agency, AMI, indicates it is taking a major hit including in relation to other meats.

Such developments inevitably impact on the EU pig meat market as a whole with Germany being its largest producer and consumer. It is also key to EU trade, being the second largest importer, and the largest exporter.

Per capita pig meat consumption in 2016 amounted to 35.8 kg, excluding bone, down from a peak of 40.1 kg in 2011 which represents a decline of 11%. Fresh pork in particular has been under pressure with steady falls in household purchases but even processed products have struggled. Pig meat has been losing market share to both poultry meat and beef and with demand for the latter in particular showing some improvement in recent years. Health concerns surrounding pig meat in its various forms have been building up for example among older consumers, who are traditionally large pork consumers. In addition much of the growth in the German consumer market is focussed on Muslim consumers whose meat protein intake mainly revolves around on beef and poultry meat.

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If German consumers continue to move in favour of poultry meat and even beef it may well prove a challenge to prevent a further decline in pig meat consumption. This could have implications for import demand for pork used in both the fresh market and in processed products. The UK is a small but significant supplier to the German market with a 4% share. Falling domestic demand also increases export availability of German pig meat. It should be noted that the German Ministry of Agriculture is due to create a quality assurance scheme for meat that is beyond regulatory requirements. Pork is expected to be the first beneficiary with implementation planned for 2019.

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Lionel Colby, Consultant
leo.Colby@ahdb.org.uk