Red meat exports from the UK surpassed pre-pandemic levels in the first half of the year, with the value of shipments at a record high – worth a staggering £858 million.
The latest figures from HMRC show that from January to June, almost 314,000 tonnes of beef, lamb and pork were shipped to export markets around the world – up from 268,543 tonnes during the same period last year.
Prior to lockdown, exports of red meat reached £726 million in the first six months of 2019’s ‘record’ year, representing a 9 per cent increase on 2018 figures. However, in the first six months of 2021, exports of red meat dropped in value to £673 million, due to the impact of Brexit and Covid-19.
AHDB International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley said: “It is very encouraging to see that the value of our red meat exports so far this year, has not only surpassed pre-pandemic levels, but reached record levels.
“Covid-19 could have adversely impacted exports long-term, however the reality is that despite a number of challenges, our exporters have been able to continue sending beef, lamb and pork to existing and new markets around the world.”
This year, beef exports, which includes offal, rose by 73.6 per cent in value year-on-year to reach £319 million – the majority of which was sent to the EU. Lamb exports were worth more than £245 million – with both volumes and value up 22.9 per cent and 32.5 per cent respectively, with the lion’s share shipped to the EU.
Pork export volumes increased from almost 177,000 tonnes to more than 193,000 tonnes, however value fell 3.6 per cent on a market total of £292 million.
While shipments of pork to non-EU countries were down 11.8 per cent in volumes and 23.6 per cent in value, exports to EU markets rose from £84.6 million last year to £125 million in 2022.
Dr Hadley added: “AHDB has heard from levy payers that they value our export work, so we will continue to work with government and industry to identify new markets for our red meat, to build on these impressive figures.”