While the Spanish are a renowned nation of pork lovers thanks to the legendary jamón, and are not averse to enjoying the odd pig’s ear or trotter, there are some piggy parts that even they will not entertain the thought of eating.
But thanks to China, Spanish exporters now have a growing market hogging Spain’s pork off cuts and it is literally bringing home the bacon.
Exports of Spanish pork off cuts to China rose from €59.2 million in 2013 to €76.3 million in 2014, a 24 percent rise in one year, according to figures from Spain’s office of meat exports.
While China is the biggest importer of Spanish pork innards, it is currently the fourth biggest importer of Spanish pork as a whole, behind France, Portugal and Italy, importing €109 million worth of pork in 2014.
China’s ascent has coincided with Russia’s fall; Russia banned all imports of EU meat products in August 2014 in response to countries who imposed sanctions on Moscow to punish the country for the ongoing war in Ukraine.
José Manuel Alvarez from Spain’s office of meat exports (OECE) told The Local that despite the closure of the Russian market, Spanish exporters have been looking towards Asian markets where pigs are flying…off the shelves:
"Since the closure of the Russian market, our exporters have been looking towards alternative Asian markets which has increased their sales prices more than almost all of their EU competitors.
"We are hoping to significantly increase exports to China in the coming years because of the opportunity it presents," Alvarez told The Local.
Spain currently ranks fourth among the world’s pork exporting nations, exporting eight percent of the world’s total, or 1.4 million tonnes.
The country is only beaten by Germany (18 percent) a nation known for its beloved wurst, USA (15 percent) and Denmark, home of legendary Danish bacon (10 percent).
In 2014, Spain exported a million tonnes of pork, worth €2.5 billion, a 9 percent growth on the year before, the Spanish Office of Meat Exports (OECE) told The Local.