UK pig meat exports higher in March, lower to the EU

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Overall UK exports of pig meat and offal were higher than year earlier levels in March, at 37,800tonnes. This was a 13% increase on the same month last year, driven by exports to non-EU destinations. Exports to EU countries declined by 17% year on year, and were 47% down for the whole quarter. We still need to bear in mind that the method of reporting exports to the EU has changed, which will mean numbers are not entirely comparable to previous years and may be subject to revision.

For fresh/frozen pork, shipments totalled 22,700 tonnes, steady compared to March 2020. This was a smaller annual decline compared to those reported earlier in 2021, but exports have nonetheless had a weak start to the year.

Falling shipments to a variety of previously important EU destinations were the cause of the decline. Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark were particularly affected. Conversely, data shows France becoming the second largest destination for fresh/frozen pork, having previously been a minor recipient. However, this represents a logistical change in the way product is now being moved to EU countries from the UK, and almost certainly does not represent a change in the final destination of the pork sent.

Shipments to non-EU destinations were 40% higher than the year before, with particular growth to the Philippines, where trade was nine times higher than in 2020. Shipments to China also increased by 13% to 11,500 tonnes.

Offal exports were up on the year in March. Exports to China rose to 6,500 tonnes (+20%), while shipments to the Philippines were up by nearly 75% (to 1,100 tonnes).


Imports of pig meat (and offal) were down by 15% in March compared with a year earlier, totalling 61,300 tonnes. Low European pork prices early in the year don’t appear to have provided much stimulus to import volumes. Average import prices were lower than the month last year though compared to February there was a slight increase. Overall, the value of imported pig meat was down by 21% at £172.6 million. All pig meat products, apart from offal, recorded lower import volumes than last year.


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