Meat & Livestock News

British Pig Meat Finds New Horizon in California’s Proposition 12 Era


  • UK pig meat exporters set sights on California, spurred by new animal welfare legislation.

  • A delegation of six British exporters embarks on a strategic trade mission to tap into the Californian market.

  • Proposition 12 opens doors for high-standard British pig meat, signalling potential growth in the US market.

In an ambitious stride towards international markets, a select group of British pig meat exporters has ventured into California, eyeing the vast opportunities unleashed by the state’s latest animal welfare legislation, Proposition 12.

This regulation, which took effect on the 1st of January, 2024, introduces stringent standards for pig meat production, notably mandating enhanced freedom of movement for pigs, and effectively bars the sale of any pig meat not conforming to these elevated standards within the state.

This pioneering five-day trade mission, facilitated by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), sees six premier UK pig meat exporters engaging with key Californian buyers.

Their itinerary is packed with meetings with esteemed meat distributors and wholesalers, alongside visits to leading supermarkets, including the second-largest chain in North America. This endeavour is poised to position quality British pig meat, renowned for its adherence to the highest welfare standards, in front of a new audience.

Susana Morris, the AHDB’s Senior Trade Development Manager, shed light on the mission’s significance, stating, “With 40% of our pig production bred outdoors, the advent of Proposition 12 in California carves out significant export opportunities for British pig meat exporters.” She elaborated on the critical role of animal welfare in shaping consumer preferences and lauded the exemplary practices of British farmers and the industry at large.

California, home to approximately 40 million people and accounting for 15% of the US’s pig meat consumption, presents a fertile ground for British exporters.

The local production, constrained by the new legislation, is anticipated to fall short of meeting the burgeoning demand for pig meat produced to these new, rigorous standards. British pig meat producers, with their commitment to high welfare standards, are uniquely positioned to bridge this gap and fulfil some of this demand.

The trade mission is a strategic move to showcase the UK’s world-class produce and capitalise on the new legislative landscape in California. With other states contemplating similar measures, the horizon for British pig meat in the US market looks promising. This initiative underscores AHDB’s commitment to bolstering the pig meat sector’s export activities, reflecting the industry’s valuation of such endeavours.

This foray into the Californian market not only aims to augment the UK’s share in the US pig meat market but also highlights the paramount importance of animal welfare in consumer choices, showcasing the UK industry’s dedication to maintaining high production standards.