US lamb importers targeted in AHDB-led mission

Five of America’s most respected red meat importers will join AHDB on a five-day mission next week to explore opportunities for UK lamb, ahead of the first commercial exports.

On Sunday, a delegation of importers and processors from the eastern region of the US, will be arriving in London to take part in a busy programme of events, which includes a visit to the National Sheep Association Show in Malvern.

The visit has been organised by AHDB in a bid to connect key importers from the US with lamb exporters, as well as showcasing the varied breeds and rich history of farming in the UK, and the high quality and taste of our products.

The delegation includes one of the most respected distributors in the eastern half of the US – delivering to 27 states and exporting to Latin America, as well as an importer which supplies hundreds of restaurants, retailers, hotels, universities and caterers throughout Virginia, Washington and Maryland.

One of the top importers and exporters of meat and seafood will also be taking part in the mission, alongside two leading lamb buyers.

AHDB Senior Export Manager Susana Morris said: “The US is an important market for our lamb exports, with AHDB estimating it to be worth £37 million in the first five years of trade. Currently, we are working with government on the final approval process, which once completed will see lamb exported to the US for the first time in 20 years.

“We are delighted to be hosting this mission as our visitors are some of the most respected importers on the east side of the US, where demand for lamb is growing in popularity. By hosting these guests and introducing them to our farmers and processors, we will hopefully be on the front foot when we get the green light to export.”

The mission will include a visit to a butcher’s shop in Hampshire, owned by a family who have been farming for over 750 years, as well as two farms in Redditch and Cirencester. They will also have the opportunity to visit two processors who process more than a million lambs each year.

The delegation will also visit retailers Sainsbury’s and Waitrose to see how red meat is showcased in the aisles, followed by a visit to an abattoir facility that processes high quality lamb for retail, wholesalers and international markets.

The visit will also include a day at the National Sheep Association’s (NSA) flagship event at Malvern’s Three Counties Showground. The group will be given a presentation from experts at AHDB, who will be joined by representatives from Red Tractor and the NSA.

AHDB’s International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley will kick-off the event, before delegates will hear about the importance of genetics, halal certification and heritage breeds. Delegates will also take part in a tasting event at lunchtime to sample a selection of lamb products from the UK.

Dr Hadley, who will also speak in the trade seminar session alongside a representative from New Zealand, added: “This visit promises to be a hugely valuable event for our lamb exporters, who are poised to start shipping their products to the US. AHDB has been working hard behind the scenes to get our lamb into this valuable market and this mission is just one of the ways that we are helping to boost our exports and add value to the red meat sector.”

AHDB will have a stand at the NSA Show on Wednesday, June 27, and the export team will be available on the day to answer any questions about current export markets and future trade shows which can help exporters meet influential contacts in various markets.

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