An outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China is sending the price of pork and pork products soaring, and it looks like prices will continue to rise over the next few months.
It’s time to take action to mitigate these increasing costs including considering alternatives to pork.
What is ASF?
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, African swine fever is a “severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs, with no approved vaccine. The virus is not a risk to human health”.
Why does ASF in China affect the UK?
China produces more than half of the worlds pigs each year and most of the meat stays within the country. Pork is the main protein in the Chinese diet, followed closely by poultry.
China reported their first outbreak of ASF last August, which resulted in the cull of about 20% of their pigs. This has left a shortfall in the Chinese market of around 2.5million tonnes. In order to maintain the nations diet, China has been importing pork from around the world, including from the UK, to meet the demand and is paying massively inflated prices.
What about UK-produced pork?
We supply our customers with pork procured from the UK in the first instance and then from mainland Europe, however these markets have seen prices rise dramatically due to increased demand from China. Supply is increasing, however, there are only four large pig processors in the UK who supply into the supermarkets. It is widely believed that once they have fulfilled their retail commitment, the rest of the pork will go to China.
What price increases should I expect?
Between February and April this year, the price of bacon has increased by 18%, and the market price of pork has risen by 38% in the past four weeks alone. We are in constant contact with our suppliers to monitor prices and manage demand, but we expect supply to be limited and prices to remain high at least in the short term.
Are any other meat products affected?
We are closely watching the price of poultry as it’s widely believed that China will look to supplement their pork supply by switching proteins.
What can I do to mitigate these price increases?
In the first instance, talk to your My Purchasing Partner to discuss in detail how this situation will impact your business. We will work closely with you to mitigate the price rises, including considering the benefits of sourcing alternative meat products and managing your menus.
We are confident that once the ASF outbreak is controlled in China, pork prices will return to expected levels. Please be reassured that My Purchasing Partner will keep you informed at all times.
Should you have any questions, please call our proactive, experienced team on 0800 121 6440 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.