Welsh red meat exports hit £250m

Welsh red meat exports hit £250m

The value of lamb and beef exports from Wales hit the £250 million mark in 2022, according to analysis of HMRC UK trade data by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Delegates at the Gulfood trade show discuss Welsh Lamb.

The total value of Welsh Lamb exports in 2022 was £171.5 million. Exports to the largest European partners – France, Germany and Belgium – were all up on 2021, with the French market alone worth an estimated £77 million to Welsh sheep farmers.

The value of beef exports from Wales also jumped by nearly 50% – from £50.9 million in 2021 to £75.6m in 2022 – reflecting both increased trade and exchange rate factors. Notable growth was recorded in exports to France and the Netherlands, as well as some emerging markets such as Japan.

The good news comes as HCC and leading Welsh processing companies completed a week of further promotions for PGI Welsh Lamb in the Middle East to target audiences attending the giant Gulfood trade show in Dubai.

HCC’s head of supply chain delivery, Jon Parker, said: “These are really encouraging export figures for Welsh red meat and it’s great to see growth in HCC’s priority markets. We’re leading the way as global trade returns to a more normal pattern after the Covid disruption.”

The figures show the emerging markets in the Middle East bounced back after Covid, with increased trade in the valuable foodservice and hospitality sector. There were particularly notable increases in exports to Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. 

Middle East interest

Jon referred to additional work undertaken to promote the PGI Welsh Lamb brand in the Middle East: “We’re determined to resume the levels of growth that we had been seeing in exports to the Middle East region before Covid, so the recovery into the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait is very promising,” he said. “It will all help at a time when domestic demand in the UK is less buoyant than it was.”

He added: “At late-February’s Gulfood trade show there was a huge amount of interest in Welsh Lamb. We’ll be working alongside governments and processors to ensure we take advantage of every opportunity with a varied programme of promotion.”

There were fewer lamb exports to Hong Kong but growth was seen in North America, with the first shipments to the US made towards the end of 2022 and trade to Canada worth over £3 million over the year.

“With sales in the home market having fallen back from the peaks seen during the Covid years of 2020 and 2021, and British consumers feeling the cost-of-living pinch, industry experts are united in projecting that overseas sales are more important than ever to securing good returns for farmers and processors,” said Jon.

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