EU pig meat consumption rising, says new figures

In the UK, consumption increased slightly to 24.5kg/head
In the UK, consumption increased slightly to 24.5kg/head

The average person in the EU consumed 40.9kg of pig meat in 2015, the largest amount since 2011.

Per capita consumption fell between 2011 and 2013 but has now increased for two years in a row, rising by over a kilo in two years.

The increase comes as rising EU production was only partly offset by higher exports.

Nevertheless, growing export sales meant the EU’s self-sufficiency rate rose from 110% to 112% (i.e. it produced 12% more pig meat than it consumed).

Despite the overall increase, the latest figures show stagnant or declining consumption in many of the Member States in the North and West of Europe, including Germany, France and the Netherlands.

However, more pork was eaten last year in most southern and eastern Member States. In the UK, consumption increased slightly to 24.5kg/head but remained among the lowest per head in the EU and was still below the level recorded up to 2012.

These figures are calculated as the balance of production, imports and exports, giving the total supplies available for consumption on a carcase weight equivalent basis.

The rising trend contrasts with figures showing declining retail pork sales in most major markets.

This suggests that a higher proportion of pig meat is being consumed in foodservice or as processed products, which may fit in better with modern lifestyles. Some may even be used for purposes other than human consumption. All these channels generally deliver less value to producers than retail sales of pork, contributing to the recent decline in pig prices.