Pork trade evolving in 2022

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

UK exports of pig meat (excluding offal) totalled 24,400 tonnes in March 2022, up 23% from February but down 3% on the same time last year. This brings the Q1 2022 total volume to 62,300 tonnes, 15% higher than Q1 2021 due to exports being much lower than usual in January and February 2021 as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU.

The main driver for the year-on-year drop in exports in March is the reduction of Chinese imports. In March 2022, the UK exported 46% (5,300 tonnes) less pig meat to China than in 2021. China has been rebuilding its own pig herd following the ASF outbreak, reducing its need for imported product, however the “zero Covid” policy is also affecting demand and impacting on the ability to fulfil shipments due to enforced lockdowns.  graph showing UK pig meat exports 2018-2022

Offal exports totalled 14,700 tonnes in March, an increase of 32% on February and up 19% on March 2021. This makes the 2022 Q1 total volume of exported offal to 34,200 tonnes, up 11% on Q1 2021.

UK imports of pig meat (excluding offal) totalled 71,500 tonnes in March 2022, down only 200 tonnes from February, up 20% from the same time last year. This takes the total imports in Q1 to 224,000 tonnes, in line with the pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit levels of 2019. Although import volumes are similar, the makeup of products has changed. Prior to the covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, bone-in products were imported in larger volumes than boneless, in 2021 and 2022 this has switched. With limited butchery capacity in present in the UK it would appear that we are making use of butchery abroad to produce the cuts in demand.

  chart showing UK Q1 pig meat imports bone-in vs boneless


Image of staff member Freya Shuttleworth

Freya Shuttleworth

Analyst (Dairy & Livestock)

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