China loses appetite for pork
Food safety concerns have reduced the pork consumption in China by 10% to 15% in the last 12 months, says Chenjun Pan, Senior Analyst - Animal Protein at Rabobank.
"The level of consumption change varies greatly between the different distribution channels. Looking forward, and reflecting on the current situation and trends, it is quite possible we have seen the ‘peak’ of pork consumption", she said.
Food safety concern was the main driver that affected the appetite of the Chinese consumer for pork but the price will soon have its own effect in the market.
"While the changes in consumption thus far in 2019 are mainly attributed to food safety concerns, we hold the view that this is only one driver of reduced pork demand in China following the spread of ASF. The other driver of change in pork consumption will be price.
As the price factor driver is not yet in the market, we see scope for further changes in pork consumption in 2019. We believe the price will influence overall consumption levels and the preference for imports over locally-produced pork (with demand for imported pork set to grow). And, as with food safety concerns, the response to higher prices will differ between the various channels", believes Mrs. Pan.
Food processing and foodservice channels in China have the first to shift from pork to other animal protein and poultry has been the one to see a spike in prices.
Food processing, particularly branded consumer foods, may have already shifted to imported pork or other animal proteins such as poultry, as product ingredients. Among foodservice sub-categories, group dining, such as canteens at schools or factories, and on-site catering for large companies, is also believed to have shifted from pork to poultry and other animal proteins. Chicken breast meat, which is heavily used in meat processing and foodservice, has seen large price increases this year and is up by 44% YOY in May (see photo).
In contrast, the prices of beef, sheep meat, and chicken meat in food retail markets have increased more modestly, and are up by 6%, 11%, and 8% YOY in May.
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