Philippe Mallétroit – Director for France and Africa
In France, as elsewhere in Europe, the pork meat trade, mainly linked to holiday season at the end of the year, remained dynamic for a large part of December on the domestic market and export. Pig slaughtering’s remained fluid, especially more than the offer remains 5% lower than 2022.
The average carcass weights decreased at the beginning of the period but recovered 800 grams in the last week of December. 2024 begins logically with pig harvestings postponements but activity is rising rapidly in the early days of this new year.
2023 was an exceptional year for pig prices. The average price was 2.115 € per kg carcass.
Pig prices increased by 20.6 cts (€ 0.206 per kg carcass) only in January and continued to rise to a peak of € 2.380 per kg carcass on March 30! After a period of falling prices in April /May, the price experienced a second wave of increase in June, while the effects of the holidays dissipated, and that will not end until July 31. After this date, the fall in prices will be significant (- 51.9 cts per kg carcass) until end of November. As elsewhere in Europe, the decline in production, which caused the sharp rise in pork prices, shook the meat industry.
The prices rise has considerably reduced the competitiveness of French companies in export markets, especially to large importers in Southeast Asia and exports collapsed, the European market was overloaded with meat, exacerbating intra-European competition.
Genesus Jersey Red
With a consumption of about 30 kg (66 lbs.) of pork per capita, pork is consumed by about 95% of French people. 75 % of pork is consumed as cold meats.
Cooked ham, also called white ham (“Jambon blanc” in French) is the most popular charcuterie in France, with an annual consumption exceeding 120,000 Tonnes.
White ham is known to be a very lean piece of pork (maybe without too much flavor for some foreigners), but it is very appreciated in France. It is probably one of the reasons, why French pig industry has pushed swine genetics companies to produce pigs leaner and leaner. Today many packers complain to receive pigs too lean, especially with development of stopping castration. These entire males (especially Pietrain breed) start to be a problem for some packers who need more fat, or for some packers who produce premium pork products who need taste (=fat).
I had the chance to meet one of them recently, who was looking to improve the taste of his white cooked premium ham. This packer did a trial with hams bought to a Genesus pig producer who uses Jersey Red sire. His first comments are: “The results are particularly interesting, we clearly find at the tasting the promises of tenderness, mellow, marbled, meat quality” and he added “there is a real difference with our current product”. I also tasted this Jersey Red sired ham versus a very lean ham from the same packer. It is clear, intramuscular fat of Jersey Red does matter for taste.
Happy New Year to all of you, and that 2024 brings you the best.
Source : Marché du Porc Breton
This post was written by Genesus