The sun’s coming – and it’s good news for pork

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

A warm summer is expected to boost pork consumption in Europe
A warm summer is expected to boost pork consumption in Europe

Related tags Pork consumption Denmark Pork Ahdb pork

Danish Crown believes the unseasonably warm weather in northern Europe will drive up consumption of fresh pork after months of declining demand.

Last week, much of Europe basked in the sunshine, with temperatures soaring to 26 degrees in the UK. The Met Office is now predicting 2016 will be the hottest summer on record and pork consumption could enjoy a bumper season, according to one of Denmark’s largest pork producers, Danish Crown.

“We see a great demand for special necks, loins, shoulders, hams and trimmings,”​ said Søren Tinggaard, vice-president of Danish Crown in Scandinavia. “Products are either marinated or in processed form and end up on the grill, so right now we see clearly how sunshine and heat at this time of year can really lift the consumption of pork.”

It’s not just the sun that has caused Danish Crown to confirm it expects a significant rise in pork consumption; increasing exports are tipped to help consumption grow. The rising price of pork in China, coupled with stable sales of pork to Japan and the US are also contributing to the optimistic outlook.

Stephen Howarth, marketing intelligence manager at UK levy board AHDB Pork, said he agreed with the outlook from Danish Crown and expected consumption to rise when the weather is good.

“There is a tradition in Germany (and presumably neighbouring countries) of barbecues, which is stronger than in the UK,”​ he said. “Pork is one of the meats traditionally used on barbecues, both in terms of fresh pork cuts and processed products. Therefore, good weather is generally associated with rising prices.”

Howarth said it was difficult to accurately record pork consumption in Scandinavia because AHDB Pork’s estimates were based on “the balance between production, imports and exports”​. This, apparently, works well for countries with larger populations, but less so for smaller ones. And it is particularly pertinent for Denmark, given that its exports are much higher relative to its population.

But despite the positive outlook for pork over the summer, Tinggaard said it was important to understand the “balance between supply and demand”​ of pig meat globally.

“In recent months, exports outside the EU lifted considerably. When we get a boost in consumption in Europe, as we have right now, we have a completely different situation. But it is a very sensitive market, then a sudden dip in the temperatures in Europe or in exports to China, in particular, can quickly shift the balance again.”

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