In 2010, Iberian ham prices have sharply decreased by 50% for Iberian bait hams and about 30% for Iberian acorn hams due to the need to sell the reserves and the lack of liquidity in the sector; although there is an upward trend in 2011.
The Chairman of Iberaice, which is the most representative organization in Spanish Iberian pig sector, has highlighted the different developments of acorn and bait hams. In 2006 and 2007, massive slaughters of pigs (about 5 million pigs, mostly, bait ones) were made and the reserves of those hams have been finished in 2010. The need to sell the product was motivated by the long-term curing process and the lack of bank credit which have led the industry to get cash by selling at very low prices, almost 50% less than usual ones.
However, Iberaice points out that the trend is changing and by the end of 2010, an upward tendency is expected to continue throughout 2011 and 2012 in terms of consumption and economic situation in Spain. They think that the rise in prices ia accompanied by a decrease in the number of slaughtered pigs: in comparison to 5 million pigs that where slaughtered in previous years, only 2 million ones have been slaughtered in 2010, and about 1,5 million ones are expected to be made in 2011. These figures will not supply Spanish domestic demand which is set to 4 or 4,5 million hams a year. This will cause an steady increase in prices.
With reference to Iberian acorn hams, Iberaice says that these hams need two more years of healing than bait ones so currently their 2006 and 2007 reserves are being sold. Price decreases were recorded in around 35% due to lack of liquidity. Therefore, they think that due to all these facts and the economic crisis, there will be a change in consumer´s habits: the consumer will have enough with Iberian bait ham because it is cheaper, so “only those industrials who adapt to these premises will go on in this sector, in the opposite of those who do not adapt to them”.