Dear readers,

Let’s read some positive news related to our industry:

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres proposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to connect the sanctioned Rosselkhozbank to the SWIFT system in exchange for the extension of the grain agreement, reports RBC-Ukraine with reference to Reuters.
  • The USDA announced $300 million in funding to measure the greenhouse gas emissions from farming this week. The investment seeks to address the scientific uncertainty around these practices, as there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the efficacy of “climate-smart” technologies that the USDA has already poured millions of funding into.
  • U.S. inflation continues to decline, with the top-line consumer price index (CPI) falling to 3% year-over-year in the previous month, the lowest since March 2021, down from 4% in May. This decrease is mainly due to dropping energy and slowing food prices.
  • The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) received a $644,489 grant from the USDA to develop a targeted curriculum for the state’s meat processing industry.
  • Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine aims to support animal vaccine development and usage by launching the new Center on Vaccine Evaluation and Alternatives for Antimicrobials.
  • the Italian Senate has approved an amendment  which prohibits the use of names that refer to meat and its derivatives for processed products that instead contain exclusively vegetable proteins .
Price tag  

            Just a few considerations related to the price table: when judging evolution of the quotations in the non-euro area, also the exchange rate is influencing the data. On the other hand, the struggle to increase the German quotation is not over,  I could imagine reaching 2,6 €/ kg hot weight by end of July. Meanwhile, in the countries where fatteners are also grain producers, the harvesting season is lowering a bit the request for piglets.

There is no doubt, pig numbers are going down and so are doing the weights: in Spain after a 960-gram drop in the last week of June, a further 810-g decrease takes hot weights to 90 kilos. This is still more than 4 kilos higher than in the same week of 2022. To compensate the lower number of pigs, Spanish farmers went for higher average weights. In the neighboring France pig numbers in  the Uniporc Ouest zone have fallen by 6% since the start of the year with a weekly deficit of nearly 22,000 pigs, which has led some slaughterhouses to already concentrate their activity on 4 days for a few weeks.

ASF is also taking its toll: the Philippine Pig Producers Federation estimated that in recent years, African Swine Fever incidences have resulted in the slaughter of approximately five million pigs . This makes the Philippines one of the main export destinations for the US pork producers. Export is an important driver for the American pig industry and permanent adaptation is the key: actual focus moved from China to the much more reachable Mexico. Throughout the first five months of this year, Mexico was the main driver for US pork exports. According to the United States Meat Export Federation the total Mexican purchase was of 447,081 tons, valued at 890.1 million dollars, reflecting in each case increases of 13% and 24 %. A large part of these exports was represented by muscle cuts, since they are in high demand both in retail channels and in food services, where they go through processing later. Only in May , the purchases increased in double digits in the order of 21% in volume, which amounted to 96,811 t., while the expense generated was 16% higher, to reach up to 198.9 million dollars.

What is happening in China? A few weeks ago the state declared that it will start purchasing pork, in order to increase the price of pigs. Now China will release 2,300 metric tons of frozen pork from state reserves, according to a notice issued by state-owned company Huashang Reserve Commodity Management Center. Did the price increase too fast and too high?!

Still, such a huge market is a permanent target for pork exporters. In terms of strategy, instead of looking for high volumes, some suppliers try to differentiate.

Hola Food , part of Grupo Alimentario Copese holding company , has made its first product shipment to China and plans to reach a million euros in turnover in 2024 in ChinaThe intention is to „send one container per month during the present 2023 and, in 2024, two per month.” In this first order, a total of 23 tons of various 50% Duroc pork items have been sent   with the aim of „showing the differentiated quality” of the products sold by Hola Food.

In Europe the  current pork market is influenced mostly by the inflation. When price is the main purchasing driver, sellers adopt strange policies.

            A Welsh supermarket chain  has been found to be selling meat and other fresh products that are up to 13 days past their use-by dates. The discovery was made during an investigation  program, where journalists found nearly 50 items being sold or displayed past the use-by date in multiple locations.

WeFood, the world’s first supermarket selling only expired food, has opened in Copenhagen, Denmark. The store offers prices up to 50% lower than regular grocery stores, with products that have passed their official expiry date or have damaged packaging that would have led to their disposal. As declared, the aim of WeFood is to reduce the massive amount of food waste in Denmark and globally…

It is hard to fight such “strategies”. Some European countries are fighting against inflation by applying reduced VAT tariffs for food, meat included.

Other governments are approaching the issue by support schemes for the national food production, including promotion and advertisement on national level.

Price cap on some foodstuff, pork items included, is also on the list. While in some countries this measure proved to be a failure, others are just introducing it.

When I go shopping, I try to understand the purchasing decision process, especially on the meat counter.

What is driving you to buy meat? Origin? Freshness? Brand? Sensorial characteristics?  Or it is only the price tag?

European pig and piglet prices: HW= Hot weight; L= live weight;

GERMANY2,50 HW93/25 kg 
NETHERLANDS2,26-2,54 HW79/25 kg 
BELGIUM1,83 L77/20 kg 
DANEMARK1,85 HW93/25 kg 
FRANCE2,352 HW   
ITALY1,87 L- 115 kg, 2,19 L-160kg,DOC135/30 kg   
SPAIN2,02-2,05 L95-105/20kg 
AUSTRIA2,44 HW103 /25 kg 
POLAND1,75-2,14 L90-137/20-30 kgPartner info; no quotation
CROATIA2,10-2,8 HW110-123/ 25 kgPartner info; no quotation
SERBIA2,0-2,05 L115-131/ 25 kgPartner info; no quotation
CZECH R.2,48 – 2,52 HW82-88/ 25 kgPartner info; no quotation
SLOVAKIA1,98 -2,03 L110-121/25 kgPartner info; no quotation
HUNGARY1,98 – 2,14 L110-121/ 25 kgPartner info; no quotation
ROMANIA2 – 2,14 L110-121/25kgPartner info; no quotation

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