September 7, 2023


UK's primary pork prices still favourable after losing top red meat spot




The United Kingdom's primary pork prices remain favourable despite being knocked off the top red meat spot, according to new figures and analysis.


As of July, primary pork, comprising steaks, roasting joints and mince, is no longer the best performing red meat, as consumers trade down to favour more affordable options.


The primary pork market value has grown 10.2% year-on-year to £800 million (US$999.6 million) according to Kantar, which is 1.8% ahead of the year-on-year increase for total grocery over the same period. This value growth is driven by inflation, as average primary pork prices rose by 15.7% year-on-year to £5.71/kg (US$7.13).


However, volumes sit 4.7% lower over the same period, Kantar figures showed, continuing the declines seen since November 2022.


Due to the large number of processed pork options, primary pork makes up a small portion of total pork volumes, at 14.9%. However, it is also one of the cheapest proteins, coming in at £1.50/kg (US$7.14/kg) cheaper than the average for total primary meat, fish and poultry.


The UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said primary pork's retail performance was beginning to slip, with its year-on-year volume decline outpacing beef. AHDB analyst Tom Price said this came as the cost-of-living crisis causes consumers to trade down to cheaper products like mince and sausages, and cheaper proteins like chicken.


He said: "Consumers switching to primary chicken accounted for 26.2% of all primary pork volume losses year-on-year."


Pork's lower price point compared to other red meats stands it in a good position within the market, according to Price.


"This means that over the coming months, we could continue to see primary pork's retail volume declines limited when compared to beef and lamb," he added. "As the cost-of-living crisis will continue into the festive period, we could see increased demand for pork at Christmas as pork roasting joints are approximately 50% cheaper than that of beef and lamb.


"Retailers looking to boost primary pork sales could also promote the health credentials of pork through highlighting how pork is high in protein, a source of zinc and B vitamins including B12.


"This could encourage consumers to purchase pork, especially when combined with messaging around primary pork's affordability."

- Farming UK

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