Red meat exports soar with Asian demand a boost

Fri 21 Feb 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

red meat exports

Exports of red meats from the UK are soaring. According to figures released by HMRC and as reported by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the total value of red meat exports rose by 13 percent to £1.5bn last year.

661,000 tonnes of pork, lamb and beef were shipped globally from the UK in 2019, making it one of the strongest years on record.

While the European market continues to dominate, exports grew substantially across all three meats to non-EU countries, especially in Asia. This follows successes for the industry in winning access to the Japanese market for beef and lamb, with the first shipments of UK beef to China for over 20 years also within sight.

There have also recently been inward inspection visits from countries including Mexico in February 2020 and the USA in the summer of 2019.

Sheepish about continued growth

The only cloud in the sky was figures showing a 17 percent drop in sheep meat exports in December, mainly driven by a 31% drop in exports to France. However, AHDB analyst Duncan Wyatt has clarified that the data should be treated with caution as it is not corroborated by the French customs data.

Sheep exports for 2019 as a whole was 13% higher year on year at 93,600 tonnes.

Chinese demand for pigs and offal

Pig meat exports saw significant growth, with total exports reaching 378,000 tonnes rising 24 percent in value to £609 million. Demand from China boosted shipments of pig meat with demand for offal up by 61 percent up to 131,000 tonnes, worth £191 million compared to £77 million in 2018.