On-the-Ground Updates

European Union: decline in pork production in the medium term

Frozen Pork Ham & Shoulder
Ricardo Lopes
Published Dec 16, 2020
Concerns about the environment in several EU Member States, together with the risk of PES and changes in consumer preferences will limit pork production in the EU.

According to the European Union's agricultural prospects report for 2020-30, sustainability concerns are expected to influence EU meat markets over the next decade, decreasing per capita consumption, promoting more efficient production systems with less animals and reducing exports of live animals. In general, EU meat consumption per capita is expected to decrease by 1.1 kg, reaching 67.6 kg in 2030.

Fall in pork production and consumption in the EU
Environmental concerns in several EU Member States, coupled with the risk of African Swine Fever (ASF) and changes in consumer preferences will limit pork production in the EU. It is expected to fall by 1 million MT (-4.6%) between 2020 and 2030. The world pork market will continue to have uncertainties in production and supply for consumption in the EU. EU production did not increase in 2020 due to an unfavorable investment climate, despite the spike in world demand and favorable prices.
EU pork consumption per capita began to decline in 2019, when the EU redirected a large share of production to China while domestic prices were high; this has led consumers to shift consumption to cheaper alternatives, such as poultry meat. This decline is expected to continue after a brief recovery in 2021, reaching 32 kg per capita in 2030 (1.4 kg less than in 2020).

Impact of ASF: Stagnation of the EU pork trade
The global and EU pork market remains uncertain due to the continuing but decreasing impact of ASF in Asia. On the one hand, the production potential in Asian countries may improve faster than expected. In China, after two years of deficit and high prices, which aided massive shipments of meat, demand for imported meat is expected to decline significantly in 2021 and production to reach pre-ASF levels in 2025. On the other hand, after the ASF outbreak in Germany in September 2020, the import ban has intensified in Asian countries, halting the departure of a significant amount of pork from the EU in 2021.

EU pork exports, which peaked in 2019-2020, will not grow as Chinese demand decreases. For 2030, EU exports may be slightly higher than in 2018, thanks to demand from other Asian countries that may not fully recover from ASF. In general, the EU will continue to lead the world in pork exports (38%).

EU pork prices will slowly return to current levels
In 2019, EU pork prices peaked due to high demand from China. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ban on German pork imports due to ASF contributed to a reduction in prices. Global competition (United States, Brazil and Canada) and reduced demand for meat from the EU due to ASF will cause further declines. As supply will decline, EU prices are expected to rebound to around € 1,600 / MT in 2030.
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