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Covid-19 changes demands of pig meat

The Covid-19 situation has changed the specific demands of pig meat, expressed by the meat industry and end users.

That was concluded by the Meat Group, an international knowledge platform of breeding organisation Topigs Norsvin, printed in the company publication Progress.

The Meat Group consists of a number of globally operating experts including Dr Grant Walling, head of the Meat Group, and meat specialists Dr Caroline Mitchell and Dr Dustin Boler. In addition, the team also consists of various specialists from local Topigs Norsvin organisations. The platform aims to bridge the gap between pig genetics, production and processing, and the consumer.

Demands to pig meat are likely to change due to Covid-19. - Photo: Shutterstock
Demands to pig meat are likely to change due to Covid-19. - Photo: Shutterstock

Pig uniformity

The experts projected that slaughterhouses and processors will intensify automation at the slaughterlines. In the long run, pig buyers will therefore make higher demands with regard to pig uniformity, making sure that there is little difference between the carcasses. Pig producers will have to take that into account. There is relatively much manual work involved in the slaughter and cutting process. In times of a pandemic like Covid-19, that makes companies vulnerable as their staff might get infected.

More online pork and meat sold

Covid-19 also leads to more pig meat being sold through online channels. Product presentation in that case is not as important in comparison to meat sold in supermarkets. On the other hand, the consumer experience with online sales is more important.

According to the panel, not all online retailers supplying pork products have been taking that into account well. Online sales is clearly asking for different types of products as well as production processes.

An increase of fast food meat

In many countries, restaurants are closed because of Covid-19 lockdowns, and foodservice companies experience a substantially lower turnover. Fast food companies, however, do continue to have income. That means that luxury meat products are in low demand while typical fast food products are doing really well. That development, the platform’s experts say, is positive for the pig meat industry in comparison to e.g. the beef industry.

Recently, we interviewed the new Topigs Norsvin CEO Villaume Kal

Covid-19: A demand for innovation

Topigs Norsvin anticipates that meatpackers will change their future demands with regard to purchasing pigs. Pig (meat) suppliers will therefore have to take into account that contracts or buying specifications might change over time.

Pig parts that used to be sold against good prices, may have fallen from grace after Covid-19. The expert team therefore pointed out that the pig meat industry had better innovated and adapted to a different post-Covid-19 reality.