Red meat exports make more than £1.2bn last year

By Aidan Fortune contact

- Last updated on GMT

UK red meat exports were worth over £1.2 billion in 2017 according to HMRC data
UK red meat exports were worth over £1.2 billion in 2017 according to HMRC data
Exports of red meat products from the UK surpassed the £1.2bn mark in 2017, driven by Asian markets, according to the latest figures from HMRC.

The export data showed shipments of beef, lamb and pork topped £1bn from January to December last year, while a 2% rise in red meat offal exports, compared to 2016, pushed the total for all three sectors above £1.2bn in value.

Beef exports to non-EU countries rose by almost a fifth to over 14,300t, helping overall exports for the category to grow by 11% to £409M.

The Asian market continued to be a key focus for UK meat exports with a 230% increase in the volume of high-value, chilled beef exported to Hong Kong in the last year, more than triple the value of the market two years ago.

China syndrome

Total pork exports were up 4.8% on the previous year to 216,000t, with a value of £293M, with both EU and non-EU shipments increasing.

Despite increased competition in the Chinese market from both domestic pork production and products from other countries, the UK has continued to hold its pork levels steady, with volumes sitting just above 40,000t.

Elsewhere in the sector, the value of UK pork exported to the US increased 2.7% to more than £23M, with the high-value foodservice sector reported to be a major buyer of the product.

Lamb exports

Lamb exports to both European and non-EU countries rose in 2017, with total volumes up 14% year-on-year and valued at more than £384M. Non-EU volumes grew to 5,400t – up two-thirds on those in 2016.

Jonathan Eckley, senior export manager for livestock at the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), said: “This latest data shows that the UK meat export industry is in a strong position globally and able to build on the incredible figures we reported in 2016. 

“AHDB is continuously working to ensure UK farmers and processors are fit for the future as we look to leave the EU. While Europe is still a vital market for our exports, it is important that we look at opportunities and gaining access to an increasing number of new markets further afield.”

Related topics: Manufacturing, Meat & poultry

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