UK pork imports rise, exports fall – AHDB

Growth and decline are not reflected in all product categories

calendar icon June 20, 2024

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2 minutes reading

Britain produced 306,400 tonnes of pork between January and April this year, according to Defra data. Despite lower slaughter production in 2024, higher average carcass weights have led to production volumes growing 0.6% year-on-year, according to a recent market report from AHDB.

Global pork demand appears to remain subdued, with many economies still experiencing high inflation and consumers becoming more wary of their spending habits. In addition, there is geopolitical uncertainty due to a number of upcoming high-profile elections. Total pork exports (including offal) from Britain in the first four months of the year amounted to just under 100,500 tonnes, down 3% compared to the same period last year. On the contrary, UK imports of pork (including offal) are up 3% year on year, despite weaker domestic consumption.


Although the total import volume has increased to 251,500 tonnes so far this year, the growth is not reflected in all product categories. More than 99% of British imports come from the EU27. Fresh/frozen pork is the largest category, with 106,600 tonnes received from the EU27 to date, an increase of 4% compared to 2023. Denmark and Germany have the largest market shares with 25% and 23% respectively. Strong growth has also been recorded in sausage volumes, up 7% from 2023, with Germany (28%) and Poland (18%) accounting for the largest shipments. Processed pork volumes have fallen since 2022, with Germany recording the largest losses in shipments. However, Poland and Ireland maintain their market share at 30% and 24% respectively. Bacon imports have also decreased over the past two years, but the largest shipments still come from the Netherlands (57%) and Denmark (33%).

stacked bar chart showing volumes of ipig meat imports to the UK by major supplier


As with imports, the overall change in export volume is not reflected across all product categories. The decline in UK pork exports is mainly driven by a decline in fresh/frozen pork shipments, although bacon volumes have also weakened year on year. The top four destinations for UK products remain the same year on year (EU27, China, Philippines and US), but an increase in volume shipped to South Africa has shifted fifth place, pushing South Korea to sixth place has fallen.

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