March 27, 2015


China to become top destination for UK pork



China may soon displace Germany as the top importer of pork from the UK four years after it welcomed the entry of such deliveries.


In addition, it replaced the Netherlands as the number one destination for pork offal as imports are close to tripling since 2012.


During the period 2012-14, UK pork exports to China more than doubled to 65,000 tonnes. Germany, on the other hand, slid by 5%.


Even if it holds half of the global pig supply, China still imported about two-thirds of UK's output, or 564,000 tonnes of pork last year.


Pork offal, which is not popular in the UK, is seeing a positive demand in the Chinese market, with 814,000 tonnes brought into the country in 2014. It is reflective of an opportunity that UK companies are seizing upon: that pork parts, not much favoured at home, is more than welcome by the Chinese who are less queasy about consuming such meats. 


"It can be very broad, ranging from the head to feet to even shoulders. They do make great utilisation of the carcass than you would find in a lot of other countries," said Adam Couch, the chief executive of Cranswick.


Karro Food Group Ltd, one of the three UK pork producers permitted to deliver to China, intends to boost exports by 80% this year, while Cranswick Plc and Tulip Ltd will also be increasing shipments.


In the meantime, more exporters are expected to join the Chinese pork trade. These include meat processor Dunbia and Karro's Cookstown plant in Northern Ireland which may receive approval in the latter half of this year, said Mick Sloyan, the director of England's pork levy board, BPEX.


The UK is China's sixth-biggest exporter last year, with hipments in 2014 reaching 27,500 tonnes, or 5% of overall imports.

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