October 10, 2016


Pork demand in EU key markets declining



Consumer demand for pig meat in key EU markets has remained under pressure this year, with consumption generally falling back in spite of favourable prices, according to AHDB Pork.


This is especially true in the key markets of Germany, France and Italy. This has also been similar to developments in the UK, even though retail price falls have been less marked on the continent.


For fresh pork, it was noted that the summer barbecue season in northern Europe got off to a slow start, despite the European football championships, but, as the weather improved, demand for grilling cuts subsequently rose.


The pork division of the UK Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board said that in the EU's largest market, Germany, household purchases of fresh pork were down by nearly 5% in terms of volume despite a 1% price fall. This meant that spending was down by as much as 6%, it said.


German demand for ground meat, traditionally consisting of a mixture of pork and beef, held up in January-June, being 1% more by volume, while purchases of charcuterie were down by 1%.


Demand for grilling cuts during this period was adversely affected by the poor weather, although as the summer weather picked up, it is assumed to have improved.


"Pig meat has historically been the pillar of meat consumption by German consumers but demand has been falling back steadily during the current decade, with changing lifestyles and purchasing habits. This in turn has contributed to a decline in total meat purchases, in spite of the ongoing switch to poultry meat", AHDB Pork said.


In another major market, France, household purchases of fresh pork have fallen by a similar amount to those of Germany in the first six months, being down 6%, although there was a marginal improvement in the demand situation over the summer. Demand for charcuterie has held up better, with household purchases largely unchanged, despite a fall of almost 2% for ham.


In Italy the market has remained under pressure this year, with household purchases of fresh pork down 6% in the first quarter, which followed on from the decline of 8% in 2015. Purchases of processed products, including salami and ham, have also been well down so far this year, AHDB Pork said.

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