Meat & Livestock News

2023 Pork Trade Review


  • Total pig meat import volumes decreased by 2.5% in 2023 compared to 2022, mainly due to a significant reduction in bacon volumes.
  • The Netherlands and Germany saw notable declines in their pork exports to the UK, while Denmark’s export levels remained unchanged.
  • Pork exports from the UK were down by 20% in 2023, reflecting challenges in the export market, including subdued demand in Europe and beyond.

In 2023, the UK’s pork trade experienced several shifts, with import and export volumes reflecting changing market dynamics. Total pig meat imports fell by 2.5% to 781,600 tonnes, compared to the previous year. This decline was primarily driven by a 10.2% decrease in bacon volumes, which significantly impacted the overall import figures.

Despite this, the fresh/frozen pork category saw a 3.4% increase to 331,500 tonnes, indicating a shift in the UK’s import profile towards fresh and frozen products over bacon.

Denmark and the Netherlands continued as the UK’s principal pork suppliers. However, most countries, including these key suppliers, saw relatively stable import volumes, with Germany experiencing the most significant drop of 11.8% in pig meat volumes sent to the UK.

On the export front, the UK faced a challenging year, with total pig meat exports falling by 20% to 298,300 tonnes. This downturn was most pronounced in the fresh/frozen product category, which saw a 31.3% decline.

Conversely, processed products saw a modest increase of 6.4%, albeit from a low base. The offal category, while also under pressure, showed resilience with only an 8.3% decrease, highlighting its continued importance for carcass balance.

Exports to the EU27 and China both saw reductions, with a 21.6% decline to the EU27 and an 11.4% decrease in exports to China. These figures underscore the difficulties faced by UK pork exporters, including price differentials, reduced product availability, and subdued demand.

As the industry looks ahead to 2024, the AHDB’s latest Agri Market Outlook explores how these trading dynamics might evolve, including potential new opportunities for exports. The review provides a comprehensive overview of the pork trade in 2023, setting the stage for future developments in the market.