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Buying British

The home industry’s fortunes continued to prosper in the final quarter of the year, as the strong demand for British pigs kept prices at historically high levels. This was reflected by improved facings for British pig meat in the major multiples and the industry received an early Christmas present with news of sales opportunities in the Chinese market.

British pig prices remained comfortably over the 170p mark during November and well ahead of EU prices, as the demand for British pigs remained strong in the final quarter of the year, in the run up to the Christmas trading period.

Earlier in the year it was anticipated that concerns about low levels of compliance with the new EU pig welfare regulations in several Member States supplying the British market would act as a major spur to demand for home-produced pig meat. As 2013 draws to a close, it is clear that the fall-out from the Horsegate scandal had a more profound effect on boosting demand for British meat generally.

A recent National Pig Association press release published the latest results from the PorkWatch survey. This survey, conducted by BPEX, takes place on a two monthly basis and measures facings of British pig meat in all major supermarkets. The latest survey showed a general improvement in British pig meat facings over the last twelve months. While facings of pork, ham and sausages increased across all retailers, the figure for bacon showed a decline.

The recent agreement to allow sales of British boar semen to China received significant coverage in the media. The deal was announced during the visit of a trade delegation to China, fronted by PM, David Cameron. A further agreement was made, in principle, to allow export of pigs’ trotters to the Chinese market, although a number of formalities await finalisation.