09 September 1998
US pig producers take on Denmark

THE USA is set to challenge Denmarks dominance as the worlds leading pigmeat exporter.

The National Pork Producers Council in Iowa says it intends to pursue “an aggressive, long-term programme to become the worlds largest pig exporter.”

US production of pigs has increased from about 85 million a year in the middle of the 1980s to almost 100m last year. There are plans to raise this to 130m.

The Americans have advantages in the form of cheaper feedstock, cheaper land and lower environmental controls.

But Danish industry personnel who have looked at US operations believe the Americans are making a mistake by producing for the catering market segment. The Danes concentrate on the premium end of the market.

But the Danes appear to have already prepared for the battle. The countrys two largest co-operative meat processing business, Danish Crown and Vestjyske Slagterier (VJS), have announced their intention to merge.

The combined group will process some 15.5m pigs a year, have a turnover of DKr 37 billion (£3.35bn) and employ about 18,000 people.