Five American red meat importers will join the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) on a five-day mission next week to explore opportunities for UK lamb, ahead of the first commercial exports.

On Sunday, a delegation of importers and processors from the eastern region of the US, will be arriving in London to take part in a busy programme of events, which includes a visit to the National Sheep Association Show in Malvern.

The visit has been organised by AHDB in a bid to connect key importers from the US with lamb exporters, as well as showcasing the varied breeds and rich history of farming in the UK, and the high quality and taste of our products.

The delegation includes one of the most respected distributors in the eastern half of the US – delivering to 27 states and exporting to Latin America, as well as an importer which supplies hundreds of restaurants, retailers, hotels, universities and caterers throughout Virginia, Washington and Maryland.

One of the top importers and exporters of meat and seafood will also be taking part in the mission, alongside two leading lamb buyers.

AHDB senior export manager Susana Morris said:

“The US is an important market for our lamb exports, with AHDB estimating it to be worth £37 million in the first five years of trade.

“Currently, we are working with government on the final approval process, which once completed will see lamb exported to the US for the first time in 20 years.

“We are delighted to be hosting this mission as our visitors are some of the most respected importers on the east side of the US, where demand for lamb is growing in popularity.

“By hosting these guests and introducing them to our farmers and processors, we will hopefully be on the front foot when we get the green light to export.”

The mission will include a visit to a butcher’s shop in Hampshire, owned by a family who have been farming for over 750 years, as well as two farms in Redditch and Cirencester. They will also have the opportunity to visit two processors who process more than a million lambs each year.

The delegation will also visit retailers Sainsbury’s and Waitrose to see how red meat is showcased in the aisles, followed by a visit to an abattoir facility that processes high quality lamb for retail, wholesalers and international markets.