Red meat exports up 13% in first half of 2019

Exports of red meat and offal from the UK have enjoyed a strong start to the year with shipments surpassing 300,000t – up 13% on 2018.

According to the latest HMRC figures, more than £711 million worth of beef, lamb and pork products were shipped around the world in the first six months of the year.

However, compared to the 13% increase in volume, it’s only a rise of 8% in value compared to last year, when red meat exports stood at £658 million.

Figures show exports of pork and pig meat products rose from 166,000 to 183,000t, worth £268 million – an increase of 15%. Almost half of the shipments were to non-EU third-country markets.

African Swine Fever has driven demand for imported pork across Asia – particularly in China. From January to June, the UK saw shipments increase by 56% to 57,000t, representing 35% of total UK pig meat exports.

Total beef and beef offal exports have risen by 13% to 86,000t. Beef volumes increased by nearly 11%, while the rise in beef offal exports was more marked at 21%.

Sheep meat exports grew by 24% in the first half of 2019 to 47,000t, driven by EU markets, with shipments increasing by 25%.

AHDB’s head of Asia Pacific Jonathan Eckley said: “It has been a very strong start to the year for our red meat exports with growth across all three categories.

The low sterling value has undoubtedly been a driving factor and higher pork shipments have been driven by demand from China, which continues to be an important market for the UK.

“While it’s unclear at present what impact Brexit will have on the EU market for UK red meat exports, AHDB will continue to look at new markets outside of the EU and aim to build on these impressive figures for the foreseeable future.”