EU pig meat consumption stabilises as production rises
Provisional AHDB/BPEX estimates, based on the balance of EU production and trade, show that supplies of pig meat available for consumption in the EU increased slightly in 2014.
Per capita consumption was estimated to be 40kg, marginally higher than in 2013, as production was slightly higher and exports lower, largely due to the Russian ban. This was the first increase in three years, during which time pigs were in relatively short supply. Nevertheless, consumption is still over 3kg per person below its level before the economic slowdown began, as consumer confidence remains low, constraining purchases of meat. With demand still subdued, pork prices and, hence, pig prices inevitably had to fall significantly last year to generate sufficient sales to match the increased supplies available.
Levels of consumption of pig meat vary widely across Europe. UK consumption was broadly stable in 2014 at around 24kg, well below the EU average and among the lowest of all Member States. 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, pig meat 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 pig meat 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.