Historically, pork has been the most consumed animal protein on a global basis, highly commoditized in the form of live animals as well as cuts of meat. Due to the wide diet consumable by hogs, pork production can happen in many different growing zones around the world, without significant roaming requirements for the animals. Continued access to refrigeration in industrialized nations allows more pork product to be purchased and stored, and ultimately consumed, than any other time in history. The growing middle class, on a world-wide basis, is demanding more pork, with growth expected over the next decade, without signs of slowing down.
Key facts about the global pork market
- China was, and still is, the largest producer of pork on a global basis, despite strong losses in its herd size on account of African swine fever during 2018 and 2019.
- Up until 2019, when China lost significant portions of its hog herd, pork production was the largest single animal protein on the planet, set to reclaim that position from chicken in 2-3 years as China rebuilds its herd.
- The US is the second largest, single producer of pork, after China, but ranks third when factoring all of the European Union bloc together.
- China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork, as well as the largest importer of pork product.
- Pork exports account on average for 23% of US pork production and in 2020 will enter a sixth year of record hog and pork production.