Warning in place as UK Pork Market is affected by African Swine Fever
Article Date: 2019-11-21
James T Blakeman & Co Ltd, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of sausage and meat products are providing a warning to customers regarding the effects African Swine Fever (ASF) will have on the UK pork market.
As you may or may not be aware, the global pork industry is currently in crisis which in turn has had a huge impact on the market, driving prices up to levels never experienced before.
The reason behind this impact originated from China where an epidemic of African swine fever (ASF) plagued their farms and spread at a rapid pace. This has now spread into nine other Asian countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines as the disease is airborne.
It is now estimated that the country’s pig population has shrunk by 40% in 2019 (approx 250 million pigs) due to disease and culling. This is predicted to reach 50% in the first quarter of 2020.
China is the world’s largest consumer of pork (roughly 30%) and has always been regarded as a staple for its 1.4 billion people.
They along with the other Asian countries have had to increase their imports from the UK and Europe and are prepared to pay highest prices just to secure what they need. Their imports are up by 40% in 2019 just to meet the short fall they have had in their own countries.
Due to this the price of manufacturing pork has already reached record levels in the second half of 2019 and by early 2020, as demand overwhelms supply, we are expecting to see prices increase further throughout the coming months.
Here at Blakemans, we use approximately 275 tons of frozen and fresh pork from the UK/EU each week and our key aim is to source the levels we require to maintain product consistency and supply to all of our customers. In July we managed to source product at competitive prices to take us through to December, covering current sales volumes.
We have recently secured all of our frozen pork that will take us on current volumes until the end of March 2020. However in order to secure this supply, have had little choice but to pay market prices, against the value of product exported to China. This has seen us pay 60-70% higher prices on some of our core raw materials, which has had a huge impact on our products prices.
Long standing relationships with our core meat suppliers is one of the main reasons for our continual supply, with 100% supply levels across both frozen and chilled material.
Whilst we will do our upmost to buy as competitively as possible, sometimes due to availability and demand, this proves a difficult task.
We would like to think that our trading relationships can equally take this strain of increased pricing, to still provide the same high quality and consistency you’ve come to expect from us and to come out the other end of this challenge as stronger businesses and suppliers to the foodservice industry.
Head Of Business - James T Blakeman Co Ltd