Prices soar for sausage casings

Natural sausage casings have seen a dramatic price increase, leading to industry concerns that supplies might run short within a couple of months.

The 20% price rise, which has taken the average price of natural casings up from 8p/lb to 10p/lb, has been attributed to a shift in the value of sterling against the euro as well as a world shortage of meat products, due to rapidly increasing meat consumption in China.

Terry Rudgley, managing director of Associated Casings Co, said: "It is not just natural cases - all of our products have seen a 20% price rise recently. The price rise is partly down to the euro, which has gone from E1.42 to E1.25 against the pound, but also due to China eating more pork products. The speed at which China is changing to European products is unbelievable."

Rudgley denied reports that supplies were threatened and insisted that, as long as there was demand for the product, there would be supply.

"There will always be somebody who can supply someone at a price. The situation is that there is a world shortage, but it has been made to look much worse because the Euro has gone against us and there has been a small increase in the price of material," he said.

An independent butcher's sundriesman told MTJ: "Sausage manufacturers should still be able to source the product, but prices will continue to rise. It is the quality that is the worry; tradititonally, in the UK, we would have the more tender casings, but now selectors and buyers won't be able to be so fussy, so the product going into the marketplace might not be as good."