The most recent forecast from Brussels indicated a small rise in UK pig slaughterings this year, but the MLC team reckons the kill will diminish. And the betting is on a sharper drop of at least 10% next year. The MLC thinks a pigmeat output downturn in this country will be concentrated in the bacon sector, at least in the short term. Pork production in the current year is forecast at 610,000t, almost unchanged from 2001, but bacon volume could shrink from 197,000t to 183,000t. Next year pork output will tumble to 550,000 while bacon production should just drift down to 172,000t. However, home produced bacon supply in 2003 will be at least a third smaller than the imported tonnage and account for only about 38% of UK consumption. Until a couple of years ago roughly equivalent volumes of home produced and foreign sourced product were regarded as the normal state of the market, with domestic suppliers' share typically varying by perhaps 3% or 4% during the pig industry production cycle. MLC economists and other industry analysts now informally predict the UK pig industry will not regain the production capacity it had until the late '90s, and it appears imports have gained a sustainably dominant role. {{MEAT }}