The European Commission's forecast for EU agriculture until 2030 is highly optimistic for the pork and beef market. A slight increase in pork production is estimated for the coming years. With world meat consumption growing by an average of 1% per year, export forecasts for pork and beef are also promising. They are a continuation of the trend of the last few years, when sales abroad recorded double-digit growth. The United States has become one of the largest recipients of EU pork1.
The trade balance of the European Union for the pork market is definitely positive. In 2017, 3,833,754 tonnes were exported, with imports of 36,351 tonnes. Compared to 2015, pork exports increased by 9.25%. In the first half of 2018, 2,243,357 tonnes were exported, which is an increase of 0.9% year on year. One of the largest recipients of pork from Europe is the United States, which in the first half of 2018 accounted for 4.7% of total pork exports (106,063 tonnes). Compared to the same period a year earlier, this represents an increase of as much as 14%2.
China remains the largest sales markets for EU pork (35% of total exports), Japan (11.9%) and South Korea (8.9%)3.
Exports of beef (including livestock) from the European Union countries in 2017 amounted to 701,677 tonnes, which is an increase of as much as 20% compared to 2015. In the first half of 2018, this figure amounted to 370,508 tonnes, which is a small decrease (by 2.9%) year on year. The largest recipients of beef from Europe are Turkey (16.1%), Hong Kong (9.7%) and Algeria (6.3%). Beef exports from the European Union in the last three years were twice as high as imports. Europeans import most beef from Brazil and Argentina. In fifth place was beef from the USA (9,000 tons), in twelfth place – beef from Canada (over 500 tons)4.
Such optimistic data for pork and beef produced in the European Union is justified by the quality of the product offered. European countries are players in this market with many years of experience and extensive infrastructure facilities. Once established, business contacts are paying off for years. In addition, EU pork and beef producers are constantly aiming for high quality raw material. The quality is also controlled from the level of the European Commission. This is evidenced by the frequent updating of legislation on animal husbandry and food production standards. There are also changes in the breeding methods chosen by producers, who try to respond to changing tastes and consumer trends.
1 EU Agricultural Outlook for the Agricultural markets and income 2017-2030
2 Report of the Committee for the Common Organisation of the Agricultural Markets, published on 20 September 2018
3 Report of the Committee for the Common Organisation of the Agricultural Markets, published on 20 September 2018.
4 Beef and veal market situation report, published by the Common Market Organisation (CMO) Committee on 30 August 2018.