AHDB: 2023 pork trade review


For the full year 2023, key product categories remained finely balanced with annual import volumes seeing two distinct trends. January to April trade flows were back on 2022, driven by a range of factors including a tight price differential with EU product limiting import volumes.

Posted on Mar 03 ,00:05

AHDB: 2023 pork trade review

Looking from May onwards, a greater price differential alongside tight domestic supplies has enticed larger pig meat volumes from the continent. This mixed market dynamic throughout 2023 has resulted in total imports being back 2.5% when compared to 2022 at 781,600 tonnes.

When looking into the detailed category breakdowns, the total fresh/frozen category saw increases of 3.4% to 331,500 tonnes. Meanwhile Bacon saw the greatest reductions in import volumes, back 10.2% on the year to 180,300 tonnes, this being the dominant driver in the overall decline.  Interestingly this has moved the dial on our overall UK import profile, with fresh and frozen product increasing its market share at the cost of bacon.

The key suppliers across 2023 remain Denmark and the Netherlands, with most countries remaining relatively static in terms of imports volumes. The biggest movement seen was from Germany, which witness a 11.8% drop in pig meat volumes sent to the UK across 2023.

When looking to the most recent months data of December, most categories of pig meat echoed the annual trends discussed above, with the exception of the fresh/frozen pork category, which saw a 1.9% increase YOY.

Meanwhile exports of pig meat remain back on previous years as the export marketplace continues to present challenges, with price differentials, less available product and subdued demand in Europe and further afield all playing a role. For the full year 2023, exports of pig meat are back 20.0% when compared to 2022 to 298,300 tonnes.

Total fresh/frozen product volumes witnessed the biggest decline in export volumes, back 31.3% on the year with supply challenges and price points playing a prominent role in this decline. The one category to see some small increase was processed product, with volumes up 6.4%, albeit these volumes are from a small baseline.

While the offal category was also under pressure, this category has remained resilient, back just 8.3%, with these exports continuing to remain a crucial factor for carcase balance through 2023.

From a country perspective, all key trading partners saw volume decreases compared to 2022, with exports to the EU27 seeing declines of 21.6%, a reduction of 36,100 tonnes of product. Meanwhile exports to China equally saw reductions, back 11.4% (14,500 tonnes) on the year.

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