UK beef imports up 8% year-on-year

UK beef imports up 8% year-on-year

According to figures published by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), as of November 2021, British beef imports increased whilst exports saw mixed results.

In November 2021, UK imports of fresh and frozen beef were up 1,500 tonnes from 2020 to 21,500 tonnes. Volumes increased from all key suppliers, with Ireland leading the way at 16,400 tonnes.

Total fresh and frozen beef imports for the year-to-date stood at 216,300 tonnes, 4% more than a year ago. AHDB reported that Ireland was the main driver of this increase, with shipments up 2% in volume from the year before.

During same period, the UK exported 10,300 tonnes of fresh and frozen beef, up 8% compared to the same month a year ago. The majority of the uplift was driven by increased shipments to France (which now acts as a transit country for UK exports to the wider continental EU), outweighing lower volumes to Ireland, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

For the year to the end of November 2021, UK beef exports were down 12% compared to the same period a year ago, at 92,400 tonnes. However, a 7% increase in the average price of these shipments brought their value to £324.8 million.

The data suggested that the majority of the decline in volume was due to lower shipments to the EU (-16%), particularly to the Netherlands and Ireland. Exports to non-EU destinations increased by 2% year-on-year, making up 27% of total UK beef exports by volume during the period.

In particular for non-EU trade, shipments to Iran, the Philippines and the US all showed notable growth from the year before. The UK only gained access for beef into the US in September 2020, and for the year-to-date 2021, £5.8 million tonnes of beef has been shipped.

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