Scottish meat scheme publishes industry profile

UK - Quality Meat Scotland has published its annual Red Meat Industry Profile. The almanac of key information on the shape and scale of the industry offers a mechanism to benchmark industry progress year on year.
calendar icon 22 June 2007
clock icon 4 minute read

Scottish agricultural output increased during 2008 by 8 per cent with cattle, sheep and pig production contributing £683m, excluding support payments - an increase in value of 5.5 per cent, accounting for 37 per cent of the total agricultural output.

Cattle production remained at 27 per cent of Scottish agricultural output, while in the UK cattle production dropped to 14.2 per cent. Cattle production in the European Union increased by 0.1 per cent, and accountred for to 9.5 per cent of the EU agricultural output.

Sheep production is still holds 10 per cent of Scotland's agricultural output , whereas figures for the UK have fallen to 6 per cent . Overall EU production has also reduced 1.9 per cent

Pig production was 4 per cent of Scottish agricultural output while the UK pig meat production fell to 2.6 per cent of agricultural output.

Beef processors handled nearly 3 per cent more beef during 2006 and their turnover was up by over 8 per cent at £500m.

Speaking at the Royal Highland Show QMS Chairman Donald Biggar said that the annual publication is the only mechanism the Scottish red meat industry has to accurately measure the impact of a variety of economic and market factors on the entire sector.

“Despite the considerable challenges facing red meat businesses the value of the cattle, sheep and pig sectors rose by 5.5% last year, boosting the Scottish economy by some £683 million. It is heartening to read that growth has been achieved during what’s undoubtedly been a difficult period,£ he added.

As well as being a hugely valuable document for anyone with an interest in the meat industry Mr Biggar said it provided the prodution sector with hard evidence to put before the people who take critical political decisions that can affect our future.”

Other significant industry indicators included:

Direct employment in the rearing of beef cattle, sheep and pigs and the primary processing sector amounts to around 27,000 employees and proprietors both full and part-time.

Abattoir turnover in Scotland improved by nearly 5 per cent to exceed £720m. Beef processors handled nearly 3 per cent more meat during 2006 and turnover was up by over 8 per cent at £500m.

The amount of pig meat produced by Scottish abattoirs increased in 2006 by 1.4 per cent following the trend to produce heavier caracases. Scottish processors supplied £100m of pig meat to the rest of the UK in 2006, around one-third more than in 2005.

Scottish meat sales of beef improved by £44m (an increase of 35 per cent) during 2006 and the resumption of exports accounted for £12m of Scottish beef sales. The amount of value-added beef processing into shelf-ready packs and processed products increased by 2 per cent during 2006.

Throughput in the Scottish lamb sector improved by over 11 per cent compared with 2005.
A greater proportion of sheepmeat sales remained in Scotland during 2006. The rest of the UK received a similar amount of product. A change in ownership of a sheep processing facility, higher exchange rates and slow demand in France reduced exports and the amount of sheepmeat delivered as processed product doubled in 2006 to 6 per cent.

Copies of the Profile are available from the Industry Information team at QMS by telephoning 0131 472 4040 or can be downloaded from the website by logging on to

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