Russian drama for Parma as ham sales fall

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Over 2.7 million packs of Parma Ham were shipped in 2015
Over 2.7 million packs of Parma Ham were shipped in 2015

Related tags Import Ham International trade Pork

Full-year trading figures for Parma Ham show strong export growth for the dry-cured charcuterie favourite. But, predictably, sales in Russia have dropped as the Kremlin embargo heaped pressure on the pork industry. 

Made in the foothills surrounding the Italian town of Parma, Parma Ham is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product that is popular around the world. Indeed, it is so popular that exports to China (+75%) and Canada (+19%) increased significantly in 2015, compared to trading results from 2014.

Parma Ham is so internationally popular that the only negative result the salty meat recorded in 2015 was for Russia, where EU pork exports suffered from the debilitating import ban.

Strong growth

Aside from Russia, “our export [business] is very positive,​” said Vittorio Capanna, president of the Parma Ham Consortium. “The strategic choice to focus on a balanced development is proving to be a winner and, beyond the annual figure, it is the medium- to long-term analysis that highlights the particularly brilliant results achieved. Over the last 10 years, exports have risen by 50% and now represent 32% of yearly production​.”

Over 2.7 million packs of Parma Ham were shipped in 2015, generating a turnover of some €260m, according to trading figures.

The EU market imported an extra 34,000 hams and now accounts for around 61% of exports in 2015. France and Germany both imported 454,000 hams, recording growth of 4% and 2% respectively.

Parma’s bullish producers

Strong results in the US reinforced America’s burgeoning appetite for prosciutto too, with the country importing more Parma Ham than any other nation: 582,000 packs to be precise, a year-on-year increase of 3%.

Parma Ham producers have reason to feel particularly bullish about the results in other parts of the world too. Japan (+18%) and Australia (+13%) both recorded strong growth, with China importing over 10,000 packs in 2015 for the first time.

This is all the result of an excellent geographic diversification of the markets and an efficient team effort that the sector has been able to bring into play and that has enabled Parma Ham to become a leading brand on the international deli-meat scene,​” added Capanna.

With a turnover of £27.8m, the UK remains a key market for Parma Ham but was pipped to the post of being a top three importer by the US, Germany and France. Pre-sliced packs of Parma Ham in the UK made up 84.7% of total sales, highlighting the growing consumer demand for convenient meat products.

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