UK meat exports break £500M in value

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Beef, Pork and Lamb exports grew in the first half of this year
Beef, Pork and Lamb exports grew in the first half of this year

Related tags International trade

Exports of UK beef, lamb and pork were worth more than £500M in the first half of this year, up 18% year-on-year, according to the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The total value of shipments from the three sectors was £582M, boosted by exports to countries outside of the EU.

The HMRC revealed that exports to countries outside of Europe were up 45% compared with last year to 8,000t – contributing to a 62% rise in value to £23.5M.

Pork exports to countries outside of the EU rose by nearly 4% to 41,000t. More than half of pork exports went to China, where there has been a 6% rise in the first half of the year – worth £24M. 

Valued at £178M

Total recorded lamb exports to both European and non-EU countries had grown by 18%, valued at £178M. Exports of sheep meat to non-EU countries have doubled in 2017 so far.

Commenting on the results, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB’s) head of livestock export trade development Jean-Pierre Garnier said the latest figures painted a positive picture for the meat export industry.

“It is very encouraging to see an increase in exports to non-EU countries and a strong progression in value as this is an important area for our meat exports with the challenge of Brexit,” ​he said.

“AHDB recognises the importance of developing balanced international trade that does not rely solely on the EU, but we also cannot underestimate the importance of Europe, as two-thirds of our meat exports are still destined for the EU.”

400% increase

Key target markets such as Hong Kong and China have led the growth of exports to non-EU countries this year, boosted by a 400% increase in chilled beef exports to Hong Kong as well as a 91% rise in chilled lamb. New figures also revealed a 21% rise in offal exports.

Garnier added: “We are targeting key markets outside of the EU where we are confident meat exports can continue to add value. Working with government and other organisations in the UK we have been able to help open up markets which have been closed to us for many years.

“We understand the challenges that our meat industry faces and we must look at new exports deals and continue to work towards securing access to third countries ​[countries outside of the EU].”

Meanwhile, food manufacturers are set to benefit from a new £200M export deal with China, supporting 1,500 jobs in the pork industry, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

William Reed’s one-day export conference

William Reed’s Food Xport Conference on Thursday October 5 at the Ardencote Manor, Warwickshire, will arm delegates with advice and best practice and is aimed at businesses starting out on an export journey, as well as those companies seeking expansion in new global markets.

The day comprises four sessions that will cover: Identifying your potential for growth, How to organise your UK business to drive export, World Trade Organisation Rules and What can be learned from food and drink manufacturers trading profitably overseas.

Click here to book your place.

Related news

Show more

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast