The European football championship in France has provided a much-needed lift in demand for sausages and pork cuts cooked on the barbecue. The lift is a welcome relief as the beleaguered EU pork industry has faced strong headwinds in 2015 and early 2016. Exports – especially to booming China – provided the only respite to an industry under real pressure in the early part of this year.
But how much has pork demand increased by as a result of the Euro 2016 football?
“This would be difficult to quantify, but during sporting events, there is an increase in tourism to the destination country,” said Vikki Campbell, analyst at AHDB Pork. “This equates to an increase in consumption (demand) for products, in particular convenience products. However, much will depend on the weather, and which teams get past the first round!”
Thanks to warm weather in May, demand for pork was boosted significantly in Germany, but other countries have benefited too. Both the barbecue season and the later-than-usual asparagus season – which is often complemented by fresh pork and ham – has seen demand for pork jump in Europe.
Warm weather can be a significant factor that alters the equilibrium of pork demand. But after two weeks of torrid weather in June, demand has declined in response to the rain, according to AHDB Pork.
Further optimism may found in the news that the remainder of meat kept in private storage aid will be released in June. As long as domestic demand does not recede, and exports to Asia remain high, AHDB Pork believes the extra volume of meat can be absorbed with “little detrimental effect”.
The EU accounts for 90% of pork production in Europe and if further improvements in demand both home and abroad continue, prices could rise. An increase in prices would be a welcome sight, after data published in March revealed pork prices in Europe were at an eight-year low.
AHDB Pork claim “concerns” were raised over adding more pork to the market, but much of this will end up in China and is therefore unlikely to have a big impact. Volume shipments to China more than doubled in 2016 in comparison to the same period last year. The increase in shipments has not come at the cost of pork prices, and towards the end of April prices remained steady.