Hungarian meat business looks to Asian markets

By Jaroslaw Adamowski

- Last updated on GMT

MCS Vágóhíd targets Asian markets

Related tags: Pork

As part of its expansion plans, Hungarian meat business MCS Vágóhíd is aiming to produce about 90,000 tonnes (t) of meat this year, and hire a further 70 employees at its facilities, according to senior company representatives.

Tamás Éder, public relations and public affairs manager at Bonafarm Group, a Hungarian agricultural holding and MCS Vágóhíd’s strategic partner, told GlobalMeatNews​ the “company wants to expand its domestic market share and is looking for opportunities in the neighbouring countries”.

Export sales to increase

Among its other plans for 2018, MCS Vágóhíd is also making efforts to launch exports to China, and plans to raise its sales to a number of other foreign markets this year, according to Éder.

MCS Vágóhíd “has requested the Chinese export licence, but it hasn’t received it yet. We would also like to increase our export sales to other Asian markets,” ​Éder said.

Last year, the meat business opened a new pig slaughterhouse in Mohács, about 208km from the country’s capital Budapest, fitted with a total surface of about 26,000 square metres. Following a test run, the facility was scheduled to reach its full capacity of some 1 million head per year. 

Investment to expand capacities

In total, the investment should create about 570 jobs in Mohács, making the company “one of the most significant employers in the region”,​ according to data released by MCS Vágóhíd.

MCS Vágóhíd supplies a share of its meat to Pick Szeged Co, a subsidiary of Bonafarm Group. The meat processor specialises in processed pork products, and sells its output under the brands of Pick, Herz, Família and Ringa. Its products include salamis, dry sausages, cold cuts, frankfurters, hams, and bacon, among others. 

Pick Szeged produces about 40,000t of various products per year, as indicated by figures from the company. The meat processor said it holds a 30% share of the Hungarian market, and exports to some 35 countries worldwide.

Bonafarm is controlled by local banker Sándor Csányi, who is considered the country’s wealthiest person, according to data from Forbes​ magazine.

Over the past years, local pork meat producers and processors have benefited from the Hungarian government’s policy of promoting pig breeding and pork meat consumption through various financial investments and tax cuts. 

This year, the Hungarian cabinet lowered the value-added tax (VAT) on pork offal from 27% to 5%. This followed earlier cuts from 2016, when the authorities made a decision to reduce the VAT on pork meat, and 2014, when the VAT on live pigs and half carcases was also lowered, in both cases from 27% to 5%.

The measures are part of the government’s plan to increase domestic consumption of pork meat. Budapest is also encouraging pig breeders and pork meat processors to invest in expanding their capacities. Under the cabinet’s strategy, the number of hogs in Hungary is to be increased to about 6 million head by 2020.

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