June 1, 2023


UK pork exports plummet by 21% due to tight domestic supplies



During the first quarter of 2023 (Jan-Mar), the UK saw a 21% year-on-year drop in pork exports, with only 78,500 tonnes shipped, the lowest volume shipped in the past five years, UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board reported.


February and March experienced particularly sharp declines of 13% and 24% respectively compared to the monthly five-year averages.


The decline in export volumes was primarily observed in fresh and frozen pork shipments, which experienced a substantial 39% year-on-year decrease to 34,700 tonnes. Consequently, the market share of fresh and frozen pork products in exports has contracted to 44%, down from 66% five years ago.


In contrast, there has been a slight increase in offal shipments, with volumes rising by 3% to reach 35,300 tonnes. As a result, offal now holds the largest market share of exports at 45%, compared to 24% five years ago. This increase in offal uptake contributes value to the entire swine carcass by promoting carcass balance and minimising waste.


All major trading partners witnessed a decline in shipments from the UK. The EU and the Philippines experienced reductions of 10,900 tonnes and 4,600 tonnes respectively, while China saw a smaller decline of 2,100 tonnes.


There were some modest gains in volumes shipped to the broader East Asia region, underscoring its significance to the pork industry. Shipments to Singapore doubled year on year, and volumes to South Korea increased by 36%, albeit from a lower starting point.


UK pork imports during the year to date (Jan-Mar) have plummeted by 17% compared to the previous year, amounting to 185,600 tonnes. While this figure is not as low as the total volume during the first three months of 2021, which was impacted by the UK's departure from the EU, it remains significantly below the five-year average (-10%).


Import volume declines have been recorded across all key product categories in 2023 so far. Bacon experienced the most substantial drop, down by 29% year-on-year to 43,900 tonnes. This decline has caused the market share of bacon in UK imports to shrink from 28% in Q1 2022 to 24% in Q1 2023.


Fresh and frozen pork still maintains the largest market share of imported products in the UK at 41%, but it has also witnessed a significant decline of 18% year on year to 77,000 tonnes.


The sausage category only experienced a marginal dip of 3%, totalling 34,300 tonnes. This volume represents a 10% increase over the five-year average for Q1 imported sausage volumes, resulting in the category expanding its market share of UK imports to 18% in 2023.


-      UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

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