The pork market in Mexico

Mexico is among the world’s 15 largest economies and is the second largest economy in Latin America. Find out about their economy and opportunities for pork exports below.

Historically, Mexico has registered a deficit in foreign trade in pork. In 2019, Mexico was ranked number 13 among pork producers worldwide. During 2015–2019, Mexican imports grew at an average annual rate of 5.1%, to reach 1.57 million tons at the end of the period.

Imports have continued to grow in terms of carcase meat, but at the same time, the consumption of national meat has also increased.

In this way, in 2019, net imports represented 43.9% of apparent national consumption, although when comparing with 2015 where the proportion was 45.6%, both imports and consumption continue to grow.

In 2019, 99.8% of the volume of Mexican pork imports came from two main countries: 83.6% from the United States and the remaining 16.2% from Canada. The demand for imports from the United States in Mexico is maintained by the need to continue genetic improvement, seeking better performance and greater resistance to diseases.

In 2021, pork imports are forecast to increase 3% to 975,000 Mt CWE. In 2020, pork imports were 945,000 Mt CWE. In 2020, COVID-19 hurt pork imports as demand heavily decreased due to the closing of the foodservice sector. Imports are expected to normalise in 2021, as the foodservice demand increases and household cooking continues.

Mexican imports of pig meat: chilled, frozen and offals

Fresh pork is classified into three HS codes in Mexico. The first one is 0203.11.01 (carcases and half-carcases of swine, fresh, chilled). The second one is 0203.12.01 (legs, shoulders, and cuts thereof, bone-in). Finally, the last code 0203.19.99 (others).

Mexican imports of fresh pork in 2020 started with an optimistic forecast, which was expected to see growth of 1.7 million tons, representing an increase of 4.0% in comparison with 2019. Nevertheless, there was a dramatic decrease in volume imports in May 2020 due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fresh pork meat products classified as ‘others’, under the HS code 0203.19.99, were the ones with a large decrease.

Frozen pig meat is also classified into three HS codes. The first one is 0203.21.01 (carcases and half-carcases of swine, frozen), next is HS code 0203.22.01 (frozen legs, shoulders, and cuts thereof, bone-in), and then HS code 0203.29.99 (frozen others).

There were not many imports of carcases during 2020, according to the official business information system. Regarding legs, shoulders, and cuts thereof, bone-in, they started 2020 with a low volume of imports from the United States. In May, Mexico imported more volume from Canada than from the United States.

In Mexico, edible offals of the porcine species are classified in the following tariff fractions: HS code 0206.30.01 (swine skins, whole or in cuts, chilled, except pre-cooked leather in chunks (‘pellets’), HS code 0206.30.99 (others), HS code 0206.41.01 (frozen livers), HS code 0206.49.99 (frozen others), HS code 0206.49.01 (frozen swine skins, whole or in cuts, except pre-cooked leather in chunks (‘pellets’).

Products under HS code 0206.30.01 are one of the main offal categories that are imported in Mexico.

The main supplier is the United States, which had a decrease in their volume between April and May; nevertheless, there was a strong recovery in June with almost 8,000 tons, while from January to November Canada remained in the same range between 1,000 and 2,000 tons exported to Mexico.

Other than Canada and the United States, Chile is also becoming a competitor for products under HS code 0203.30.99, which refers to other frozen offal. Chile is expected to become one of the main pork suppliers of Mexico, as well as Spain and Canada.

Apparent consumption

The growth in the national production of pig meat has been insufficient to meet the domestic growth in demand. Imports increased 138% between 2003 and 2017. As a proportion of apparent consumption, imports were equivalent to 31.6% of apparent consumption in 2003 and increased to 45.6% in 2017. Exports increased 251% during this period and represented 9.3% of production in 2017.

Processing of products such as sausages, hams and cold meats requires the use of pork. There are no precise statistics on the demand for pork by the processing industry, but, according to the National Meat Council (Consejo Mexicano de la Carne), the total estimated production of all types of meat in the country was 6.8 Mt in 2017, of which 950,000 tonnes were processed products. Of these, 45% comes from poultry. The remaining 55% comes from other species, including swine.

It is difficult to establish from this percentage how much corresponds to swine-based products and how much pork could be used as an input, since several of the processed products are made by grinding meats of different species and can include components such as soybeans. In the case of some hams, natural gelatins are used and saline solutions are also injected in undetermined percentages.