Cranswick results show strong pork demand

The latest results from UK meat processor Cranswick show that retail prices of pork products could stand a rise, said Bpex chairman Stewart Houston.

Cranswick has registered a 5% sales volume growth in the first half of 2011, with a 7% rise in the second quarter. Houston said: “This success matches our observations and contradicts the declarations of retailers saying that demand is flat and challenging.”

The latest Bpex figures show a year-on-year increase of 8% in volume and 7% in value of pork products in the three months to September 2011.

“The popularity of pork is growing, which means that the price in retail could go up. Let’s not forget that producers are still losing £7 to £8 per pig,” Houston added.

Cranswick finance director Mark Bottomley said increased sales were due partly to the popularity of pork “because of price competitiveness against other proteins and a growing awareness of its health attributes”.

But he also highlighted the company’s significant capital investment programme. “We increased capacity by about 50% with a new abattoir at the Hull plant. This has allowed us to produce record pig volumes in the last few weeks,” he added.

The company has also registered a strong increase in export sales, especially to Asia. Bottomley said: “There has been significant growth in China, where there is a big market for pork products that are not necessarily in demand in the UK.”

Cranswick’s fresh pork facility in Hull was awarded USDA accreditation in April 2011, and the company has recently started exporting to the American market. “We are very pleased,” Bottomley added. “It is still early stages but there is huge demand for ribs.

“In the future, we will drive sales with continued focus on customer service, product innovation and development of new markets such as pastries.”

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