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Pig production in… France, third largest pig producer in Europe

Maternity facilities in France with the Rotecna Ni-2. Photo: I-TEK.
Maternity facilities in France with the Rotecna Ni-2. Photo: I-TEK.

Spain is the leading supplier of pork for France, with more than 315,000 tonnes per year.

Thursday 24 January 2019 (11 months 24 days ago)
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More than 75% of France’s swine production is concentrated in livestock farms located in the French Great West, especially in the regions of Brittany and Pays de la Loire.

In 2017, the number of pigs stood at around 12.8 million head, of which 1 million are sows. In productive figures, with a slaughter volume of 23.1 million pigs, the annual production of meat reached 2.2 million tons, a figure that represents 9% of European production and places France as the third pork producer in Europe.

In terms of size, most French farms have a capacity of between 50 and 150 sows. According to FranceAgriMer data, in 2015 France had 4,870 farms with capacity for more than 50 sows, and 990 farms with 150 sows or more.

Gestation shed. Photo: File RotecnaPress.
Gestation shed. Photo: File RotecnaPress.


In the food industry, more than 50% of French production is transformed into charcuterie products by domestic companies. Specifically, the salting industry represents more than half the sales of the French pig meat, with a production of 1.2 million tons of delicatessen products, 70% locally-produced.

On the other hand, another 25% of French meat, mainly loin, is sold fresh, and the other 25% is exported within the European Union and to third countries.

The main distribution channels are concentrated in less than forty producer organisations, increasingly involved in other steps on the production chain (genetics, animal feed, slaughter, sale, transformation, etc.). These organisations are of three types: large distribution groups that have their own slaughterhouses to guarantee their supply of meat, specialised slaughterers with links to various steps in the production chain, and the production sector, which invests in the slaughter and transformation of products.

The pork represents almost 40% of total French meat consumption, which stands at 33.1 kilos of pork per capita, lower than the 36.5 kilos in 2008 and 34.3 kilos consumed in 2010.

According to the consultant Kantar, the consumption of pork is has diminished slightly in French households, especially in products such as pork chops and charcuterie. It is a similar trend to that of other meats such as lamb, beef and poultry.

The total consumption of pork in France is 2.1 million tons, of which 75% corresponds to charcuterie products and the rest to fresh meat.


France exports 25% of its production. The main destinations for this meat are countries in the European Union, namely Italy, Spain, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Germany, and third countries such as China and the Philippines.

In figures, the volume of French pork exports are 600,000 tons per year, in addition to 130,000 tons of offal, with a turnover of €1,180 million.

By type, fresh and frozen meat are the main products exported by France (430,000 t), followed by fats (95,000 t), live animals (50,000 t) and processed products (20,000 t) (Graph 2)).


Regarding imports, France imports around 500,000 tonnes annually, in addition to 70,000 tonnes of offal, worth €1,370 million.

By products, meat, fresh and frozen, is the main imported product consumed by the French (340,000 t), followed by processed products (90,000 t) and fats (60,000 t).

The main supplier of pork for France is Spain, with more than 315,000 tonnes per year, followed a long way by Germany (71,000), Italy, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

In conclusion, in 2017 the French trade balance (between exports and imports) was positive: 160,000 tons in its favour. However, in value, the French sector had a deficit of close to €200 million.

Informativo Porcino nº 76 I Junio 2018. pag 24-25. Source: FranceAgriMer.

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