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Breaking down the Polish meat sector

Meat is a staple part of Polish diets, accounting for 27.9% of the nation’s total food sales. Poland is a major producer of meat products, the 4th largest in the EU, but its larders are not filled with just domestically produced items. There is still some room for exporters to make impact on the market.

The favourite meats of Poland

Poland’s meat appetites are seemingly focussed on two main categories: poultry and pork. Beef and lamb are eaten throughout Poland, but consumption volumes are significantly lower than either chicken or pork products.

Let’s compare and contrast the statistics. Poultry meat constitutes 38% of total meat consumption, with pork accounting for 55%. Beef, on the other hand, makes up just 2% of Poles’ meat eating habits. Lamb, considered a premium product, is eaten even less. Per capita annual consumption of poultry and pork stands at 28.5 kilograms and 40 kilograms respectively. For reference, per capita beef consumption is 1.5 kg per year.

More Poles are eating chicken and poultry as an affordable, healthy alternative to pork as the nation’s population grows increasingly organically-minded and health conscious.

Thanks to favourable farming conditions, especially for chicken and pig farms, Poland is one of the EU’s chief suppliers of meat products. During the first half of 2016, for example, the nation exported 575,000 tons of poultry meat - a 14% increase compared with 2015’s level. Pork exports also rose during 2016. The first quarter showed a 5% increase, reaching 104,000 tons during that period.

Despite low domestic consumption levels, Poland has also grown its beef exports. During January to March 2016, they rose 2% totalling 84,000 tons.

Polish meat exports are expected to grow across the next decade. As such, a number of producers are planning fresh facilities – fertile ground for animal husbandry, processing and packing equipment manufacturers to exploit.

SuperDrob, a poultry meat producer, is investing $48 million, in new factories. Likewise, Cedrob is planning on investing $233 million over the next decade on new farms and production sites, demonstrating the large levels of investment planned in Poland’s meat sector.

Polish meat imports are on the rise

Even though it is a major producer of meat products, it seems Poland is stepping up its levels of meat imports. According to data from the Central Statistics Office of Poland, $1.4 billion worth of meat was imported by the nation in 2015.

Beef imports rose 18% in the first quarter of 2016, for a total of 6,000 tons. This suggests that Poland imports around 24,000 tons of beef meat annually. And, despite having a production capacity of over 2.3 million tons, Poland still regularly imports poultry.

It is understandable, given Poland’s massive poultry production potential, that its imports of said products are on the small side. From January to March 2016, for example, only 8,000 tons of poultry meat was imported – suggesting annual levels of 32,000 tons.

As it dominates the consumption landscape, so too does pork make up the bulk of Polish meat imports. From January to March 2016, 170,000 tonnes of pork meat were imported to Poland - up 3% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Lamb imports are slowly rising too. This is in part due to a rise in Polish income levels and increasingly continental tastes. From 2013 to 2015, import levels rose from 863.8 tons to 1237.1 tons – small levels, for sure, but remember lamb is seen as a luxury item, rather than a commodity in Poland.

It is also worth reiterating the fact many major Polish producers are planning on stepping up their production levels by either investing in new sites or upgrading their existing facilities. As such, there is certainly space for food processing technology and equipment manufacturers to expand into the Polish market.

Get more from Poland’s meat sector at WorldFood Warsaw

If you want to uncover more from Poland’s meat industry, and get face to face contact with the industry’s major players, be sure to attend WorldFood Warsaw 2017. Every year, the show connects over 4,000 regional retailers and producers with international food and drink figures. 

The event is an ideal platform to network with Poland’s leading food professionals and grow business in one of Europe’s leading food and drink markets. It is still not too late to register your interest in attending WorldFood Warsaw 2017. Simply contact us now to get more information.


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