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Price of bacon and pork destined to rise due to the killer virus in China | UK news

The price of pork and bacon is set to rise due to an African swine fever epidemic in China, a British company warned.

Procurement company Beacon said that prices are likely to increase with European suppliers facing increased demand.

A deadly viral disease began hitting pigs on farms in East Asia last year after being discovered in China in August.

York-based Beacon said its supplier, Bidfood, found that throughout 2019, German and Dutch bacon suppliers saw a huge increase in orders from China.

Bacon prices started to rise between February and April with an 18% increase and the market price of pork increased by 38% in the last four weeks.

Another supplier, Brakes, suggested that 30-50% of Chinese pig farms were affected by the epidemic, triggering an increase in pig prices worldwide.

Ben Charles, of Beacon, said: "Brexit has been a driving force behind the price of pork throughout the first quarter of 2019, but the African swine fever epidemic has increased market pressure.

"The current increase in demand against European suppliers makes it increasingly likely that prices will continue to rise throughout the rest of the year.

"Beacon will work closely with its leading suppliers to monitor these increases to ensure that demand does not exceed supply and to mitigate price increases as much as possible."

The pigs ate it when it collapsed. Photo
Image:
China has struggled to control the virus. Photo

Analysts Informa Agribusiness Intelligence have stated that pork prices in Western Europe should increase by more than 15%.

This is the result of China – the world's largest producer, consumer and importer of meat – struggling to contain the disease.

The company also predicts that production in Western Europe will increase by 5% as exporters have tried to profit from the increase in demand.

David Williams, director of global proteins at Informa Agribusiness Intelligence, said: "African swine fever is causing a huge dynamic change in global pork markets: with China currently unable to stop the spread of the virus, it is necessary to procure an additional product from its business partners.

"If the disease is kept out of large producers like Germany, Denmark and Spain, Western Europe in particular can expect to profit from a likely increase in demand for Chinese imports."

The World Organization for Animal Health states that African swine fever is a serious viral disease that affects domestic and wild pigs, without any approved vaccine.

He added that the virus is not a risk to human health and can be spread by live or dead pigs.

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