Red meat exports from the UK reach record levels

Exports reached highest since records began
calendar icon 21 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

According to a recent report from AHDB, red meat exports from the UK reached record levels. In fact, the value of the UK’s red meat exports has reached its highest levels since records began, worth a massive £1.7 billion last year, partially driven by the rising prices of meat.

According to the latest data from HMRC, the total value of red meat shipments increased 22% year-on-year – with over 609,000 tonnes exported around the world, up nine per cent.

Beef exports brought the biggest boost to the figures, with the value of shipments up nearly 46% to £640 million – driven by the recovery of trade with the EU. Pig meat exports reached £623 million, up almost 10%, followed by sheep meat exports which were valued at £503 million – a rise of 13 per cent year-on-year. 

“We are thrilled by these latest figures, which show 2022 was an incredibly strong year for all three of our red meat sectors, with values at their highest since records began in 2009," said AHDB International Market Development Director Phil Hadley.

“Last year, we saw strong growth in some of our key target markets, such as Canada, Japan and Europe, which remains the UK’s most valuable market," he added. "We also saw new opportunities created for pork exports to Chile and lamb to the US, which both have the potential to help bolster these figures over the coming year."

Japan proved an important market for beef with 3,175 tonnes shipped last year – worth £16.3 million, a 68% rise in value. Canada has also increased its imports of beef from the UK, with shipments worth £13.1 million – a 77% rise year-on-year.

The amount of pig meat exported last year increased six per cent to 372,597 tonnes, with China remaining the largest importer of pork from the UK, taking 126,723 tonnes last year, valued at almost £203 million.

The Philippines remains the world’s third biggest importer of pig meat from the UK, with exports up 33 per cent to 33,861 tonnes, worth £52 million. Shipments to the US also increased with last year’s exports worth almost £28 million.

Sheep meat exports were up 7.8% in volume to 78,844 tonnes – with the lion’s share destined for the EU, making up 94% of the total shipments.

“These figures show the value of exports, and the benefits new markets bring to the UK’s red meat sectors," said Hadley. "We will continue to work with government and wider industry to identify and open new markets for our exporters to ensure our meat is enjoyed in more countries around the world."

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