FTA is opportunity for NZ beef in UK foodservice market

FTA is opportunity for NZ beef in UK foodservice market

New Zealand’s only 100% farmer owned red meat co-operative, with over 5,000 farmer shareholders, has spoken out on the UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which came into force on 31st May 2023.

Under the FTA, the UK – which is New Zealand’s seventh largest trading partner – will remove tariffs on 97% of imported products and stage the removal of tariffs on beef and sheep meat imports, with no duties at all from the 16th year (2038).

The Alliance Group is one of the largest exporters of red meat from New Zealand, producing free range and grass-fed beef, lamb and venison on their family farms. As a supplier to the UK foodservice and hospitality sector, the Alliance welcomes the FTA and sees it as an opportunity for high-quality New Zealand and British red meat products to sit side-by-side. Grass-fed New Zealand beef can offer the foodservice sector a point of difference on menus, as well as guaranteed consistency and quality.

Helen Scott, Regional General manager at the Alliance Group, said: “The FTA is a significant step forward in opening the door for New Zealand farmers and provides an opportunity to grow, invest and diversify. Early figures show that UK imports from New Zealand are projected to grow by £1billion.”

Red meat is popular in the UK, with the beef and veal category spend worth £2.37billion[1]. Helen Scott continued: “Red meat is a growth market and the foodservice and hospitality sector is looking for consistency in product quality, authentic and precise butchery cuts to ensure uniformity across multi-site operators, and world class food safety measures on farm and production – all key areas that we prioritise. 

“The quality of our products perfectly aligns and complements the UK, which is renowned for its high quality and sustainable British foods. In fact, in a first for New Zealand, the FTA includes a chapter that recognises the high priority that we afford animal welfare in farming practices and acknowledges the comparability of both countries’ high standards in this area.

“We’re a key producer of prime pasture-fed beef and our farming methods in New Zealand are quite different to the intensive high-impact systems often used around the world – particularly when it comes to beef meat. Our world class beef is reared using our natural, low intervention farming techniques in a low stress environment, and is always grass-fed, resulting in meat that’s full of flavour, lean, tender and nutritious. We welcome the FTA which unlocks an important market for New Zealand farmers.”

Joe Nelson, New Zealand Trade commissioner to UK & Ireland, added: “New Zealand prides itself on preserving its land and sea for future generations. Our climate, fertile soil and pristine ocean makes our country ideal for producing outstanding, great-tasting nutritious food and beverages.

“The UK market presents an exciting opportunity for New Zealand red meat exporters, and it’s great to see New Zealand’s premium, counter seasonal produce, being made available to UK consumers.”

The Alliance Group delivers a wide range of chilled, frozen and aged beef cuts to meet exacting quality standards, with their product portfolio of world class beef including Pure South and Handpicked Beef ranges.

The UK-New Zealand FTA is the second trade agreement with a non-EU country that the UK has negotiated since Brexit. An FTA with Australia was signed in December 2021.

[1] Kantar, 2020, Statista Import of Lamb and Mutton Report (2019/2020)

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