Global UK pork exports have rocketed 44% in the last five years generating £214 million a year for our growing economy, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss announced today.
The pork industry was given a significant boost after the UK Government opened up pork trade with China in 2012—£30 million worth are now shipped there each year.
Visiting Hull’s Cranswick Country Foods, the country’s biggest pork exporter, the Environment Secretary praised the industry for grasping export opportunities and leading the way in new Chinese markets, setting a gold standard for the rest of the UK food industry.
Exports of UK pork around the world are now worth £214 million, up from £149 million in 2010 and China is by far the biggest international export market for our pork, with a growing appetite for British produce.
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:
UK food has an excellent reputation the world over, and China presents a fantastic opportunity for our farmers to take advantage of a growing demand for top-class British produce. I have been impressed by the way the pork industry has embraced this new market and I want to see more British producers follow in the footsteps of successful exporters like Cranswick.
I want to do all we can to increase access to growing markets like China. Opening new export markets is a central part of our ambition for the UK food and farming sector to lead the world and is a key part of our long-term economic plan.
China is now one of the UK’s fastest-growing export markets, with over £280 million of British produce exported in 2014—more than double the 2010 figure. Pork is a significant British export, along with whisky, salmon and fresh fish.
In January, Elizabeth Truss visited China to discuss opening up the market further for British exports and expanding the number of UK plants that can export pork to China. As part of the trip she discussed pigs trotters, which could bring an additional £7.5 million a year for the British pork industry, and negotiations with China are currently ongoing. The government is also working to extend markets for UK pigmeat in other parts of Asia.
The new UK Agriculture and Food Counsellor, Karen Morgan, who accompanied the Environment Secretary on the visit, will be driving greater access to China’s growing food so more British food producers can take on Asia’s booming market.
This paves the way for the dairy industry where British dairy products are in growing demand – dairy exports to China are now worth £24 million and infant formula milk and processed cheese could present an opportunity for British producers to diversify.
Food and drink exports from the UK were worth nearly £19 billion last year with around 16,000 new food and drink products introduced every year - second in the world only to the US. Food and drink remains the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector, with the whole food chain contributing £103 billion a year to our economy and employing one in eight people.
Chris Aldersley, Chief Operating Officer at Cranswick Country Foods, commented on the Secretary of State’s visit:
We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to our Cranswick Preston site in Hull. Her visit reinforces the increasing work we are doing within the food export market around the world and our 10-years of consecutive export growth.
We are the second largest pig producer in the UK, processing 45,000 pigs a week across our facilities, 30% of which is exported. To China mainland alone we are exporting on average 750,000kgs per week, with future potential opportunities currently being identified.