Meat & Livestock News

The decline in GB Pig Prices Continues Amidst EU Market Pressures and Domestic Demand Challenges

Group of pigs domestic animals sleeping at pig farm.

The latest data on Great Britain’s pig market reveals a continued decline in prices, reflecting broader economic challenges and market dynamics. This trend, observed since late August, is influenced by various factors including international market pressures and domestic demand fluctuations.

Pig prices in Great Britain have been on a downward trajectory over the past two months. The EU spec Standard Pig Price (SPP) has decreased by 3.95p in the last four weeks, standing at 217.78p/kg as of the week ending 4 November. Despite this decline, prices remain above the five-year average and are higher than the same period last year.

One key factor influencing this trend is the decrease in pig prices within the EU market, which significantly impacts GB prices due to the EU being a major supplier of imported pork. After peaking at 215.45p/kg in late July, EU average reference prices have dropped by 30.7p/kg. The EU market has experienced greater volatility compared to the UK.

Domestic and international demand has been weak, driven by rising geopolitical uncertainties, inflationary pressures, and the cost-of-living crisis, which have suppressed consumption of most proteins. Kantar Worldpanel data indicates a 2.6% reduction in pig meat purchases through retail in GB for the year ending 1 October 2023.

Higher-priced pork products like roasting joints, chops, and steaks have seen the most significant declines, not compensated by the growth in lower-priced items like bacon, sausages, and mince. Poultry meat is the only protein in growth due to its lower price point, leading shoppers to switch from other proteins.

There is a positive trend in the foodservice sector in GB, where pork consumption is growing and recovering from the Covid impact.

However, when combining retail and foodservice figures, overall consumption has decreased by 1.3% year-on-year for the 52 weeks ending 3 September 2023, according to Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) estimates based on Kantar data.

Supply factors are also contributing to the price pressure. As of 4 November, the estimated clean pig slaughter in GB is reported at 152,000 head, with a slight increase in numbers in October compared to September.

This rise, alongside moderate increases in carcass weights – likely due to seasonal trends and cooler weather – may lead to an increase in available supplies.

Given the current market conditions, including pressure from the EU market and lower demand, the easing of prices in the GB pig market is expected to continue.