Strong year for UK meat exports
Exports of red meat products from the UK surpassed the £1.2 billion mark in 2017, according to the latest figures from HMRC.
The data reveals that shipments of beef, lamb and pork topped £1 billion from January to December last year, while a 2% rise in red meat offal exports pushed the total for all three sectors well above £1.2 billion in value.
Figures show that exports to non-EU countries have remained strong, with beef exports to third countries increasing by almost a fifth to just over 14,300 tonnes, resulting in an 11% rise in the total value for UK beef exports, to £409 million.
According to the data, the Asian market continues to be a key focus for meat exports with a whopping 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 just two years ago.
In addition, total pork exports have remained strong in 2017 – up 4.8% on the previous year to 216,000 tonnes with a value of £293 million.
Both EU and non-EU shipments increased last year – building on a record-breaking year for pork exports in 2016.
AHDB’s senior export manager for livestock, Jonathan Eckley, commented: “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.”
Looking at Chinese pork imports, last year has been described as a “challenging year”, due to increased production both in China and the rest of the world; however, the UK has continued to hold levels with pork volumes sitting just above 40,000 tonnes.
Pork to the United States has also increased in value, rising 2.7% to more than £23 million, with the UK’s reputation for producing high-welfare pork providing a gateway into the high-value food service sector.
In addition, lamb exports to both European and non-EU countries performed well in 2017, with total volumes up 14% and valued at more than £384 million. Non-EU volumes have grown to 5,400 tonnes – up two thirds on the previous year.