According to reports, British ham and bacon production amounted to 175,200 tonnes in 2007. This represents 22,600 tonnes less than the year before and the largest decrease in five years.
Imports have decreased though in 2007 – 86,200 tonnes of the 175,200 tonnes above represented import meat. In 2006, imports mounted to 109,400 and the year previously, a record 112,100 tonnes.
There are still fears that imports may destabilise domestic production. 51% of British ham and bacon was produced on the island in 2007 compared to around 55% in 2006.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. According to the latest Cost of Production survey published by the British Pig Executive (BPEX), which covers 13 countries for the year 2006, improvements in Britain in both litters per sow and pigs born alive per litter can be seen.
Great Britain still remains among those EU countries with relatively high production costs coupled with the costs associated with higher welfare systems. Exorbitant feed costs do not aid the situation.
BPEX Chief Executive Mick Sloyan said: “We are all aware of how difficult it will be for English pig producers to continue to make progress given the intense pressure from higher feed costs and little movement in pig prices”.