Over 2015, Denmark, Germany and Spain all shipped well over 300,000 tonnes (t) of pork to markets outside Europe, with China and South Korea driving the demand for European pig meat. This is according to data from UK levy board AHDB Pork, which also said early signs for exports in 2016 indicated the industry had enjoyed “the best start to the year on record”.
When combined, around 60% of pork exported outside of Europe came from the three behemoths of the industry – Spain (363,000t), Germany (356,000t) and Denmark (320,000t).
While Denmark only recorded marginal export growth of 4%, juggernauts Germany and Spain saw sales of pork to non-EU markets climb by 23% and 30% respectively, according to AHDB Pork. This helped the overall pork market in Europe post an 11% increase in its pork exports.
China on top, despite downturn
The majority of pork produced by the 28 EU member states stays within the European continent and just 25% is shipped further afield. This share has not changed dramatically in the last two years, even though the industry has desperately tried to find a new market to replace the loss of Russia.
Despite an economic slowdown in China, which has seen the country drop down to only single-digit growth, it is still the biggest non-EU pork importer.
“China was the leading market for Germany and Spain, while it was second for Denmark behind Japan,” said Stephen Howarth, AHDB Pork’s senior analyst.
“Japan was also important for Spain, but less so for Germany. South Korea was also a key market for all three and then there was a selection of smaller markets, mainly in Asia. Outside that region, the US was a notable market for Denmark, but not particularly for the others.”