Global pork production: meeting the challenge in a changing world

By Alberta Pork - There will be more than 3.5 billion more mouths to feed half way through this century - will they be eating pork?
calendar icon 27 March 2006
clock icon 4 minute read
Alberta Pork

Pork is the most highly consumed meat in the world today. But where does it fit in the world of tomorrow, a world in which today’s poor and developing countries could well be tomorrow’s economic shining stars? What can be done to meet the growing demand for meat that will likely result from this pattern of growth? And what can the industry do to make pork the meat of choice among the nine billion people expected to be living on Earth by 2050?

Although it’s impossible to predict the future, awareness of population and demographic trends can help prepare the pork industry, says Dr. Luciano Roppa, general manager of Nutron Alimentos, Brazil’s largest swine nutrition company. “The number of hungry people in developing countries is expected to decline from 777 million today to 440 million in 2030,” says Roppa. “To accommodate the eight billion people expected on Earth by 2025, the world will have to double food production over current levels in the next 20 years.”

However, religious factors, animal disease, cultural impediments to trade and high production costs in developed countries will present challenges to industries trying to capture these markets, and some of these challenges, particularly religious factors, carry unique implications for the pork industry.

Ultimately, the countries and regions in the best position to capture these growing markets will be those with favourable climates, a solid human resource base, competitive production costs, access to leading-edge technology and due diligence to food quality and safety. Elimination of animal disease and increasing domestic consumption will also be key to meeting the challenges of tomorrow’s worldwide pork market.

Who will eat pork?

Asia, Africa and Latin America are the regions to watch when it comes to projected consumption of pork, says Roppa. Those areas are expected to comprise 86 percent of the world’s population increase between 2005 and 2030, and two of them — Africa and Asia — already make up 73 percent of the world’s per capita meat consumption.

These regions are expected to grow substantially in prosperity, says Roppa, and as a result an increase in their future meat consumption is expected; meat consumption trends are highly correlated to GDP.

There is a chance, however, that pork consumption will increase and then stagnate. According to a study by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, pork is expected to retain its status as the most-consumed meat in the world over the next few decades. However, the same study shows that by 2030 poultry will eclipse pork for that top position.

A factor in this projected stagnation, says Roppa, is religion. According to a UN study, almost half of the projected population increase to 2030 will occur in just nine countries: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo, China, Bangladesh, the United States, Uganda and Ethiopia. Of these nine countries, the majority have significant populations of people that belong to religions that forbid the eating of pork. “As a result, 82 percent of the world population will be eating less than the world average of pork,” says Roppa.

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Source: Alberta Pork - February 2006

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