The recession and resulting tighter consumer spending have failed to dent consumers’ appetite for pork, according to a BPEX report.


But while pork was the only red meat category to record consumption growth over the past few years, some of this came from imports at the expense of home-produced welfare-friendly assured pork, the Nourishing Growth with Pork report said.

“There was both volume and value growth across all pork sectors last year. Sales of fresh pork increased by 3.4% in the year to December while sales of bacon (up by more than 5%), sausages and ham were also up over the previous year.

“The relatively modest volume increase of 0.7% for sausages masks the fact that growth was driven by the premium tier.”

The report suggested more consumers than ever were eating pork, with “household penetration” in 2010 up by a percentage point to 82.3%, driven by an 11% increase in roasting cuts.

But while demand was strong, some retailers had sucked in cheaper imported pork produced to lower welfare standards, much of which would be illegal in the UK, AHDB market intelligence and consumer insight manager Richard Cullen said.

“The pig industry is campaigning on this very issue under the Pigs Are Still Worth It campaign theme. The good news remains, however, that consumers are buying more pork, bacon, ham and sausages as we emerge from recession.”