Chinese consumers developing keen taste for Irish pork products

The Chinese appetite for Irish meat continues to grow, with imports of fresh and frozen pork up 116% for the first half of this year versus 2011, according to the latest Bord Bia analysis.

China’s pork imports totalled 272,700 metric tonnes during the first half of 2012, with the bulk of this being fresh meat. Frozen offal imports rose 10% to 411,600 metric tonnes.

However, as Bord Bia’s Asia manager James O’Donnell notes, China has a five-year plan to increase meat production by 85m tonnes by 2015, an increase of 17% on 2010 levels. Pork would account for 54m tonnes of the increase, boosting production by 7% relative to 2010.

Mr O’Donnell said: “China’s consumers are expected to eat more meat as disposal income levels rise and the population level increases. While pork as a percentage of overall meat consumption has dropped from over 85% in 1985 to 65% in 2010, per capita pork consumption is forecast to rise by more than 2kg/head by 2020 to 39.7kg/head.

“China’s efforts to increase pork production focus around investment in large-scale intensive production units.”

There have been several investment announcements in recent weeks.

CP Group announced plans to invest €36m in Henan province to set up a hog project consisting of a grandparent generation swine farm, a parent generation swine farm and four hog-fattening farms. Huaxi Hope Sichuan Tequ Investment Co plans to set up a hog farm in Chongqing capable of finishing 300,000 head annually and a processing plant capable of handling over 1m head. Guangdong WENS Group plans to invest €74m in Sichuan to set up a hog farm capable of finishing 300,000 head annually.

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