Drop in Italian Meat Sales; Ukrainian Pig Herd Falls

by 5m Editor
17 May 2012, at 9:44am

GLOBAL - An important development which could have some major implications for the European pork retail sector is taking place in Italy. This is expected to have a positive effect on meat exports.

Danish Crown reported a slight decline in 2012 despite an increase in turnover from € 3.3 billion during the first six months of 2011 to € 3.7 billion this year due to the higher cost of meat for processing. According to BPEX's Export Bulletin for week 19, the increase in turnover is due the acquisition of D&S Fleisch (De) and Parkham Foods (UK). The company anticipates earnings to come under pressure in world markets for pig meat as consumers in some areas are not keen on paying higher prices.

In Germany, pig carcase weights seem to have stabilised at 94 kg as the "ideal weight". Back in 1980, the weights dropped to as low as 80 kg. This represents a return to German traditions, that is, in 1930 and 1950, carcase weights were 94 kg and 95 kg respectively.

Italian retailers are required to purchase food with a written contract and pay with a maximum of 30 days for perishable products (including fresh meat to 60 days for other foods including dry-cured hams) starting from November. The financing of Italian supermarkets is currently costs about €300 million per annum.

Italian pork sales were down in volume in the fourth quarter of 2011. In total, all meat sales have dropped 3.6 per cent, with the exception of rabbit meat. Fresh pork sales represent 14.3 per cent of total fresh meat sales.

In the Ukraine, pig herds dropped 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2012. Some of the reasons are seasonal as Ukrainians consume more pork in winter but with the weather affecting crops, producers have not rushed to restock. As a result, prices have risen by as much as ten per cent.

Russia has banned breeding pigs from Germany and the Czech Republic due to the discovery of Brucellosis. The analysis by three Russian laboratories has been confirmed by the National Veterinary Institute of Pulavy in Poland.

US pork wholesale cut prices are down by 14 per cent. According to operators, a surge in slaughter pigs numbers is to blame. However, pork is now more able to compete on price with chicken whose price has risen sharply and export sales have been stimulated.

In the Philippines, giant conglomerate CPF (Charoen Pokphand Foods) is making an investment of 320 million in three pig farms with a capacity for 3,600 tonnes of pork. Production will begin in 2013.

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