In 2023, the pork market in Russia witnessed notable growth, with the top producers collectively increasing production by over 300 thousand metric tons (mt), reaching a total of 4.3 million metric tons (mmt) in live weight. This surge was reflected in the National Union of Pig Breeders' ranking, where the top 20 companies accounted for 76.7% of the country's total industrial pork production, marking a 0.7% YoY increase. Miratorg maintained its dominance as the leading producer, significantly expanding its output from 665 thousand mt to 803.5 thousand mt. While the top three positions remained unchanged, several companies experienced declines in production volume. Notably, six companies now exceed the 300 thousand mt production threshold, compared to four in the previous year, indicating a growing concentration of production among larger entities. Despite fluctuations in rankings, the overall trend suggests a consolidation of market power among key players in Russia's pork industry.
In 2023, the Ukrainian pork market saw a notable downturn in import activity, a trend that persisted into Jan-24, as reported by the Swinemakers of Ukraine Association. Jan-24 witnessed a sharp decline in pork imports, with volumes plummeting to 141.8 tons, marking a 2.4-fold decrease from Dec-23 and a staggering 13.5-fold drop compared to Jan-23. This translated to an import value of USD 386.5 thousand, with the average price per kilogram (kg) of imported products declining month-on-month (MoM) to USD 2.73, down from USD 3.11.
The weakening import activity, observed since Oct-23, is attributed to ample domestic supply pressuring pork prices, rendering imports less economically viable. Despite no apparent non-price barriers or logistical issues, importers remain inactive, relying on domestic production to meet their meat raw material needs. Additionally, while Ukraine experienced a surge in live pig imports in 2023, reaching a record 564 mt, pork imports dwindled to 13 thousand mt for the year, down 3.6 times from the previous year. Conversely, Ukraine ceased exporting live pigs in 2023, a departure from previous years' trends. The association also highlighted a negative impact on pork sales due to rising retail prices in the Q2 and Q3 of 2023, prompting consumers to shift towards more affordable alternatives like chicken, albeit without a significant shift away from premium chilled pork products.