AHDB Strategy Director – Pork, Angela Christison argues that the British pork industry has much to be proud of but while the demand is strong, so is the competition
Our wide variety of production systems provide the market with pork to suit all pockets and preferences. From state-of-the-art indoor systems to outdoor units housing over 40% of our sows in the open air, our systems differentiate British production from any other country in the world.
Markets all over the world, including our own domestic market, are becoming ever more discerning and this is driving quality in our pork production. There are over 10,000 commercial premises housing pigs and around 90% of production comes from assured farms, such as Red Tractor approved, providing consumers with the promise that the food they buy is traceable, safe and farmed with care.
Marketing the value of British Pork in the home market, as well as overseas is a key part of AHDB’s work. Our TV and social media campaigns, which promote pork as a convenient and healthy midweek meal, have seen people regarding pork as a great work night option increase by eight percentage points. Other campaigns have promoted the easy appeal of pulled pork for a relaxing weekend treat. As a result of the advertising campaigns over the past two years, an additional £34 million incremental revenue has been generated for total fresh pork. Our latest campaign shows that nearly half a million more shoppers have bought fresh pork compared to the previous year.
Overseas demand for British pork is rising too. During 2018, exports reached a record high following nine years of growth and are now worth almost £490 million to the industry – adding essential value to the carcass. Cuts that are not popular at home are prized overseas. British pig meat is now sold into 97 countries. Last year, we gained access to Taiwan in a new deal estimated to be worth around £31 million in the first five years – meaning British pig farmers and pork producers can now tap into this emerging market and make the best use of their products.
Whilst the demand for pork is strong so is the competition and it is a constant challenge for our producers to become more efficient whilst maintaining extremely high standards. We have a dedicated team working on innovations and information to help farmers especially as global trends in supply and demand affect pig prices.
And obviously, we can’t ignore Brexit and the various forms that may take. With still so much uncertainty even after leaving the EU, many within the industry are still trying to make sense of what this historical event will mean to their businesses.
At AHDB we have tried to help find answers to these difficult questions and have created a dedicated section on our website. There is also a pork weekly newsletter to keep everyone up-to-date. In addition, there are a host of Horizon reports on our website that our specialists have developed which can help farmers predict the potential effects on their individual business.
While we know there may be challenges ahead, history tells us that the pork sector can rise to them.
AHDB Strategy Director – Pork
Tel: +44 (0)24 7669 2051
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