Bedale businessman issues pork sausage shortage warning as Chinese export trade rockets


By Ben Barnett, Yorkshire Post (UK)

02 October 2019


A leading Yorkshire sausage producer has warned of a shortage of British bangers and price hikes for shoppers because of exporters cashing in on a collapse of pig stocks in China.


According to Andrew Keeble, co-founder of Bedale-based sausage and burger brand Heck!, British pork processors are having to pay hugely inflated prices for supplies of the meat, which he said was likely to lead to price hikes on supermarket shelves.


The entrepreneur said his firm was taking control its production costs by increasing production of its chicken sausages, which, along with its vegan sausages, are expected to outsell pork.


Mr Keeble, whose business will be profiled tonight on ITV4 programme Made in Britain, only uses pork shoulder - a premium cut - and he said he had never known its price to be as high as it is at the moment.


“Our pork price has jumped from £1.85 a kilo for pork to £2.70 in the past month and it’s a huge industry-wide issue,” Mr Keeble said.


“The Chinese are literally sucking up our UK pork supply and we can see a shortage of British bangers on the plate.”


He said the key to surviving the crisis was to diversify and that Heck! had identified export opportunities in the US, Australia and the EU for its vegan range as it looks to ride out a growing pork crisis.


“We are increasing our production of chicken sausages and launching new varieties, such as a Chicken Frankfurter, to make sure there people can still enjoy a tasty sausage, but the reality is that this is a problem that will be here for at least a year,” Mr Keeble said.


China’s pig herd has been decimated by African Swine Fever (ASF) and so there has been a huge increase in the volume of British pork being shipped into the country.


Almost half of China’s national herd has been wiped out since August last year, which is the equivalent of the UK’s entire production.


In the UK, the pig industry is increasingly concerned about the disease arriving in Britain...