The scale of Hungarian slaughterhouses is small in international comparison and the cost of slaughter and cutting a pig of average live weight is relatively high at 16.1-19.4 EUR on average. The aim of this study is to evaluate the cost of pig slaughter and cutting through the case study of a medium-scale plant in Hungary. Based on data from the enterprise, a calculation was performed in relation to the “output” quantity of pig slaughter and cutting, as well as its value and the cost and cost structure of processing. The capacity of the examined plant and its utilisation were analysed and cost reductions were estimated for various increases of output. In 2015, the direct cost of slaughter and cutting was 18.9 EUR per pig for the medium-scale plant which processed 100 thousand pigs. When the purchase cost of pigs is excluded, labour costs accounted for the highest share (30%) of costs, followed by services (29%) and energy costs (21%). For this reason, the level of wages and employer’s contributions has a rather high significance. Analysis showed that significant increases in Hungarian minimum wage and guaranteed living wage in 2017 resulted in an estimated 7% increase in the cost of slaughter and cutting compared to 2015, despite the decrease of contributions. The capacity utilisation of the plant was a low 28% when compared to a single 8-hour shift considered full capacity. The cost of slaughter and cutting was estimated to be reduced to 14.2-17.0 EUR per pig if the plant operated at full capacity. This may be considered a lower bound estimate of cost because there are numerous restricting factors on optimising capacity utilisation, such as: 1) number of live animals available for purchase and related logistics; 2) cooling capacity availability; 3) labour availability; 4) market position of the enterprise and potential for marketing additional pig meat products. Enterprises of this scale are recommended to consider producing more value-added products and, accordingly, investing in product development.
JEL Classification: Q13, Q19