UK pork imports decrease in December
Imports of fresh and frozen pork to the UK slightly decreased in volume in December, by 1% on the previous year.
However, over the same time period, value fell by 18% to £47.9 million, illustrating how the value of EU pork has decreased over the last 12 months, putting pressure on UK prices. The latest figures suggest that the UK buyers are sourcing slightly more of their pork from the domestic market than 12 months ago, as the price of UK pork continues to decrease and become more competitive against the European product. Through 2015, the reverse has been true at times, with UK buyers looking to source cheaper EU product, so this may be an early indication of a shift in this behaviour. During the month, increases seen in import volumes from the Netherlands and Spain were largely negated by a significant fall in German imports.
Sausages once again saw an increase in volumes (+13%), bolstered by increased volumes from Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Bacon and processed meats saw more modest increases of 2% and 4% respectively, with higher bacon shipments from the Netherlands counteracting reduced volumes from Denmark. German shipments of processed meat supported the increased volumes seen in this category.
Overall UK pork exports saw a very modest increase of 1% in December versus the same period last year (to 15,200 tonnes). For the year in total, there was also a slight growth in export volume, of 2%, despite the exchange rate disadvantage UK exporters faced during the year. Ireland and China both saw shipments increase in 2015, by 11% and 10% respectively, whilst the Dutch and Hong Kong markets saw UK pork purchases fall by 8% and 24% in that order.
Although smaller in scale, offal exports showed strong growth once again, compared with December 2014, with almost 43% of all offal exports being shipped to the growing Chinese market.