Simon Grey, General Manager Russia, CIS and Europe, Genesus Inc.


The current pig price in Russia is 138.2 Roubles (US$1.88) per kg live (with VAT). There are several reasons for recent increase in price.

  • Covid restrictions mean more Russians taking holiday’s in Russia.
  • A short-term shortage on market due to ASF breaks earlier in the year.
  • A new large scale slaughter plant.
  • A relatively small part of the supply chain available on the open market (many producers fully integrated with production, slaughter and processing).

One ongoing discussion I have with Russian producers is the possibility to get a higher price for better-tasting pork. The consensus is always the market is ready for this.

I have had our Russian team get retail prices of pork from different sources and different regions. The following table is a summary of average prices for various cuts and processed products. There is of course big variation with same product by region (Moscow and St Petersburg most expensive) and by quality of retail outlet.

The results show trends rather than absolutes but are very interesting…

Pork CutRoubles/kgUS Dollar/kg
Neck (fresh)4816.56
Loin (fresh)4035.50
Ham (fresh)2823.85
Shoulder (fresh)3644.97
Pork Mince (18% fat)4776.51
Diced Pork4255.80
Fresh Sausage (+20% fat)4025.48
Flavoured Sausage (+20% fat)4375.96
Streaky Bacon (belly)5197.08
Pork Ribs (on bone)4265.81
Hot Dogs (pink stuff)4496.13

A first observation is that there are significant differences in values of different parts of the pig. For fresh option, neck, which is a fatter part of the pig, is the most expensive. This means it seems to me, that people will (and do) pay more for tastier cuts of pork.

The second and quite surprising observation is that ham, a very lean part of the pig and therefore a part that can be dry and tasteless, has by far the lowest value. I have recently heard of companies using Pietrain in Russia (or synthetic Pietrain type pigs with large hams). Why would anyone want to use a Pietrain type pig with a large ham in Russia, and produce a pig with more of the lowest value pork? If we could breed pigs with no back legs at all it would be better!!

The third observation is that in this simple survey the most expensive cut is belly when cured for bacon. Russians today are not big bacon eaters. In North America, the reason for the belly being an expensive primal is due to its use for bacon. Crispy fried bacon is well recognized in many parts of the world as the tastiest of all meats (people like the taste). A big opportunity maybe?

The last observation is that the processed products have good retail value. All of these products can be made from very low-value ham, but need significant amounts of added fat!

As live pig producers, we need to understand that we produce a product not a single consumer wants to buy – a live pig! Consumers buy fresh, processed, and cooked products from markets, shops, and made food outlets. Obviously in Russia, as in other markets, there are price differentials in different cuts and products made from a pig. The terminal boar, we use as producers, has a significant impact on the value of the pig to the final consumer, but we have no idea what that is when we chose a boar. Maybe the boar should not be our choice?

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This post was written by Genesus