UK producers, representing 10 percent of the UK's weekly pig production, could be forced to quit by Christmas due to poor crop-growing weather around the world making feed too expensive, according to the National Pig Association. British pig farmers have faced a 25 percent increase in the cost of pig feed ingredients, such as wheat and soya, in recent weeks as a result of poor crop-growing conditions, particularly in the U.S.
The association said that around 1.5 million rashers of British bacon per week could disappear from supermarket shelves, while 2.3 million sausages (another high-scoring favorite in the Top 100 Foods Index) per week are also at risk of disappearing. The National Pig Association is calling for UK shoppers to make a special effort to support farmers over the months ahead by buying local products. "If supermarkets see a surge in demand for British products, they may be persuaded to pay our farmers the few extra pennies a kilogram more they need to cover their soaring feed bills,” said association general manager Zoe Davies.
Davies said that while empty spaces on supermarket shelves could be filled with imported bacon and sausages, they would not be produced to British welfare standards — and, in any case, European pork products might also soon be in shorter supply, as the European Commission expects EU pig production to shrink in 2013.