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Bethan Wilkins

Analyst

AHDB Pork Market Intelligence

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Tough times for the UK pig industry

Home \ Prices & Stats \ News \ 2016 \ March \ Tough times for the UK pig industry

A report just issued by AHDB Pork has revealed the price producers are receiving for their pigs has fallen by a third in a little over two years and should this trend continue it is feared many will be forced to leave the industry. The report aims to provide an overview of the current state of the pig industry in the UK and a round-up of the state of the market.

Much of the findings make for grim reading with the industry facing tough times. The average pig price has fallen steadily since late 2013 and even accelerated in the past 12 weeks, losing 13p/kg (around £11 per head) in that time. As a result, many producers are now losing money and there is an increasing risk that if some cease this will reduce the level of UK pork available to the market in future.  This development is already being anticipated in some EU member states by the second half of 2016 in response to falls in their breeding herds.

In the UK the current situation comes in a climate where production continues to rise as efficiency and productivity improve and record carcase weights are being seen, all leading to more pig meat on the market. At the same time, demand for pork has dropped, even though the price is falling. Consumers are increasingly switching to more convenience based foods, where pork does not feature strongly, as well as to chicken. The image of pork is becoming dated and jaded, a development though that the current Pulled Pork advertising campaign is aiming to reverse. UK pork is having to battle hard against cheaper EU imports, despite the fact that it is produced to higher welfare standards.  This has been exacerbated by the weakness of the euro against the sterling and a supply glut on the continent due to both increased production and difficult export markets for the EU.  However, over recent weeks, the pound has weakened against the euro, and so maybe providing a glimmer of hope for the UK industry and its competitiveness.

To read the report, follow this link http://pork.ahdb.org.uk/media/271132/pig-market-crisis-briefing.pdf

Vikki Campbell, Senior Analyst
vikki.Campbell@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8741