According to 18th Livestock Census of India (2007), the total swine population, while small, has grown consistently over the past 50 years. However, in the most recent decade, the population has declined to approximately 12 million head from a high of 14 million in 2003, as indicated by the 17th Livestock Census of India. Industry sources suggest that this decline may be due to animal disease outbreaks.
The market for imported pork products in India is limited to the Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional sector (HRI), as well as other niche and specialty markets.
Indian pork consumption can be divided into two segments. The vast majority takes place in the informal sector in the form of locally raised fresh pork meat. This meat is not widely distributed in the organized retail sector. Given cultural perceptions and consumer perceptions about pork meat, consumption of fresh local meat is limited to north eastern India where pork consumption is more prevalent.
The second segment of the pork market deals with high-value imported products. These products include cured meats such as sausages, ham, bacon and canned meat products, as well as small quantities of frozen meat. They are typically found in most leading Indian hotels catering to international business travelers and tourists.