GERMANY, Bonn. In the crisis-ridden pig industry, the concentration process continues. Tönnies, Vion, Westfleisch and Danish Crown further expanded their market share in 2020.
The Corona pandemic, African swine fever (ASF) and the loss of third-country exports took their toll on the German pig industry in 2020. But even in this special year of crisis, one trend continued: Fewer and fewer slaughter companies competed for a decreasing number of German slaughter pigs, with the larger companies gaining market share. This is the main conclusion of the current slaughterhouse ranking of the German organization Interessengemeinschaft der Schweinehalter Deutschlands (ISN).
According to the ISN, pig slaughterings in Germany in 2020 fell by 1.91 million head, or 3.5%, to 53.28 million animals compared to the previous year. However, for the top 10 in the industry, slaughter volumes were down only 1.4% to 43.77 million pigs. Their aggregate market share of all slaughterings therefore increased from 80.4% in 2019 to 82.2% most recently. With the exception of Danish Crown, which recorded the highest decline in delivered animals, the other nine major slaughterers strengthened their market position.
The Tönnies Group was in the public eye last year due to Corona cases among employees and plant closures. However, the company's pig slaughterings declined 2.4% to 16.30 million head, less than the national average, and its market share grew 0.3 percentage points to 30.6% compared to 2019. Vion Food Group moved up one place to second in the rankings with 7.60 million pigs on the hook, the same as last year. Market share rose from 13.8 to 14.3%. The company was apparently able to absorb the Corona-related restrictions at individual slaughterhouses through its slaughterhouse structure distributed throughout Germany, the ISN explained.
Westfleisch SCE fell to third place among the largest pig slaughterers in Germany, with slaughter volumes down three percent to 7.47 million, but managed to maintain its market share of 14%. Danish Crown was unable to do the same, with a drop of 6.6% to 3.10 million pigs processed, and its share falling from six percent to 5.8%. The Müller Group, in fifth place, was able to maintain its previous year's slaughter level of 2.10 million pigs, despite Corona problems in Birkenfeld.
It was noticeable that the medium-sized companies among the top 10 in the ISN slaughterhouse comparison received the same number of pigs or even more compared to the previous year and were thus able to improve their market position somewhat. Slaughterings at Böseler Goldschmaus, for example, increased by 4.5% to 1.85 million pigs; Tummel saw a small increase of 0.6% to 1.55 million animals. Steinemann Holding GmbH, represented in the top 10 for the first time, made the biggest leap with an increase of 10.7% to 1.35 million pigs slaughtered, which was also made possible by the acquisition of EGO-Schlachthof. In addition, the Willms Group increased its slaughter activities by 2.3% compared to 2019 to 1.34 million pigs. At Simon-Fleisch, slaughter volumes remained stable at 1.11 million animals despite the negative trend across Germany.