Meat imports are on the rise while domestic production looks set to fall.
As the UK recovers from the FMD crisis, it is increasingly clear the underlying trend is towards lower self-sufficiency ratios.
FMD briefly made it easier for retailers and processors to show commitment to British meat, because export bans locked unusually large tonnages of pork and sheepmeat into the home market. However, exporters are now rebuilding their trade with buyers on the Continent, and home production is restricted by the contraction of beef, cattle and pig breeding herds. Only the sheep flock shows signs of the expansion needed to service both the home and external markets.
Beef and veal imports have increased significantly while production estimates, notably those from the MLC, point to falls in domestic output of beef, pigmeat and perhaps sheepmeat next year, and recovering exports will further reduce the supplies of home-killed raw material available to retailers.