March 21, 2018
Sales of processed pig meat products in EU gain headway
Purchases of processed pig meat products in the EU posted growth in market value in 2017, while fresh pork also showed signs of improving in southern Europe, but continued to struggle further north, according to AHDB Pork.
It said higher average retail prices supported the increase in market value across the EU's member states, adding that the fact sales volumes have been increasing, despite rising prices, suggest demand for processed products has been good.
In Northern Europe (including Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and the UK), as well as Spain, processed/charcuterie products recorded value growth.
AHDB Pork said both Germany and France recorded declining sales of fresh pork both in volume and value in 2017. The decline in volume was particularly large for Germany, at over 6% year-on-year.
The pork division of the UK Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board said the decline may reflect the increasing popularity of beef in Germany, with sales volumes for this protein up 10% last year compared with 2016 levels. In contrast to pork, it added, beef prices were slightly lower in 2017, possibly aiding increased sales.
Conversely, Spain and Italy both recorded growth in the value of the fresh pork market last year. The increase in Spain was driven by a 3% rise in average retail prices, as sales volumes remained largely stable. However, in Italy the market value was boosted by greater sales volumes, as well as higher prices. Improved economic conditions may have helped boost sales, with Italy now recording four consecutive years of growth in disposable income.
EU pig meat production is likely to increase this year, AHDB Pork said, adding that good demand from the processed meat sector, and from Italy, the second-largest EU consumer, could help absorb any additional supplies.
AHDB Pork warned, though, that unless demand can be stimulated from other EU markets, the risk of an oversupply situation remains, especially since third-country export markets are expected to be highly competitive this year.
"As such, EU prices at the wholesale, and ultimately farmgate level, might experience downward pressure this year, relative to 2017, in an attempt to stimulate EU consumption."