Are All the Pigs Going to China?

Jun 19

Interview with Henry Van De Velde from HyLife

HyLife Foods is a federally certified, modern pork processing facility located in Neepawa, Manitoba. They are currently the largest hog production company in Canada and is among the top 15 in North America.

A few weeks ago, Chinese meat processing giant, Shuanghui International, made an agreement to purchase Smithfield Foods, one of the largest pork producers in the US. The price tag on the deal was a whopping $4.7 billion dollars, making it the largest takeover of an American company by a Chinese company to date, pending the purchase is approved.

Yet this is not a new trend for China. Over the past 5 years, China has embarked on over 514 separate food related acquisition deals worldwide, totaling a massive $32.4 billion dollars in spending. And specifically as it relates to pork, these types of deals are not surprising. China currently devours over half the world’s pork supply and consumes more than 70 million tons of meat annually; more than double the amount Americans eat today. So, undoubtedly, it’s logical to ask: “Are all the pigs going to China?”

The short answer to this question is, no. Of course not. Americans can rest comfortably knowing their bacon will continue to be easily within reach for the future, but this isn’t to say the Smithfield deal isn’t a sign for the future either. Currently China has 20% of the world’s population, yet only 8% of its farmable land. With a rapidly growing middle class—most of whom are choosing to upgrade their diets to include more proteins—it is projected China will need an additional $861 billion worth of agricultural developments to feed its country for the year 2050.

These staggering figures point to one very obvious sign—the opportunity to deliver safe and healthy pork has never been greater.

This year, at Alltech’s 29th Annual International Symposium, Henry Van de Velde (Vice President, HyLife) commented on how his Canadian pork operation has capitalized on this opportunity. In less than 15 years, HyLife has grown to become Canada’s largest pork producer with over 60,000 sows and sources over 80% of their pork internationally.

For more insights on this topic and the future of the pork industry from Henry Van de Velde, click on the video for his full 2013 Symposium Interview.

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