The Asia-Pacific region continues to offer opportunities for the UK pork sector, but industry must continue to ensure UK products are at the top of the list for importers, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
The Board has increased its presence in the Far East this year to help ensure producers in the UK reap the rewards of overseas trade.
Since gaining access in 2012, China has become the main market in the region for pork exports.
Demand was particularly strong in 2016, with UK exports valued at £43.3 million and offal exports worth a further £31.4 million. Despite the market being more challenging last year, UK pork exports increased by 1% on the previous year’s record shipments.
However, the popularity of pork is not only evident in China when looking at UK export data. The Philippines has become an important market, with UK exports increasing by 40% in 2017.
AHDB led a delegation, including a number of UK pork exporters, to Manila earlier this year, where the appetite for UK pig meat and offal products remains strong – latest data shows shipments were up 50% year-on-year.
Exports of pork to South Korea and Japan also started the year well, increasing by 26% and 61% respectively.
Jonathan Eckley, AHDB Export’s new Head of Asia Pacific, is looking to build on these strong figures and will be attending numerous trade missions, food shows and exhibitions in the Far East this year.
“The Asia-Pacific region as a whole continues to present many future opportunities for UK exporters and we must do all that we can to ensure our products benefit from a growth in the market,” he said.
“The Asian middle class is projected to expand rapidly over the coming years, with two thirds of the world’s middle class living in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030, according to the OECD.
“An increase in wealth is expected to trigger a rise in meat consumption in that region and it’s an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.
“But while this is clearly an important market, increasing exports of UK pork to the Far East is not without its challenges.
“There is growing competition from across the globe and we must ensure that we are correctly identifying the needs of the marketplace and remain top of mind for importers in this all-important market.”
AHDB’s Chief Communications and Market Development Officer Christine Watts said the increased presence in the Far East represents a significant investment by AHDB to build awareness of British products overseas and grow our exports.
“AHDB is committed to working with farmers, growers and industry to build new and ambitious export opportunities,” she added.
“We now have a dedicated team in the Asia-Pacific region to help develop our existing work, identify new opportunities and build on the strong relationships we have already in this all-important market.
“This investment also allows us to build our knowledge with a series of new research being undertaken this year to provide us and exporters with real consumer insight into these fast growing markets.”