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Paucity of pigs pushes pork prices


September 10, 2017

The cost of pork is on the rise. Suppliers have started to raise their prices by up to 38%, this has caused price increases of up to 20% in supermarkets, as the cost is being passed down to the consumer.

Multiple factors have contributed to this latest cost increase, including farmers having to invest more, which has been created by the consumer concern over animal welfare, as well as the need to improve product tracking and tracing capabilities. However, the main rapid price jump has been caused by the sudden and huge export demand from China, as well as the devaluation of the British Pound following from Brexit.

The export demand has developed following severe flooding in China which is affecting millions of people, as well as pig farmers, who are struggling to protect their livestock. This dilemma is forcing suppliers in China to look further afield to satisfy their consumer demand.

Foreign buyers have been attracted to the UK to fulfil their pork demand thanks to the weakness of the sterling, following the Brexit vote, resulting in a 40,000-tonne rise in exports, up 31% on the first half of last year, as China surpasses Ireland as the UKs biggest export partner of pork products, accounting for more than 20% of UK exports.

This growth in demand from China, along with the seasonal increase in demand created by the upcoming barbeque season has started to rapidly increase the shortage of pigs in the UK and Europe. This shortage has sparked pork prices to rapidly increase, with EU costs already increased by over 60%.

With no sign of demand slowing down, it looks like we might be paying a higher price for that bacon sandwich.