Beef exports on the up

Beef export trade has strengthened significantly over the summer, according to latest AHDB meat services figures.

A total of 8000t of fresh and frozen beef was exported in July, 31% more than the same time last year, taking the year-to-date total to 56,000t. The Netherlands accounted for over a third of all shipments, with Ireland and France also taking more UK beef.

“This increase in exports is partially a result of UK production increasing by 10% in the first seven months of this year compared with the same period in 2009,” EBLEX said.

Indeed, the rise in domestic production displaced imports, which were down by 7% over the same period to 17,000t. Ireland strengthened its position as the main source though, accounting for two-thirds of imported beef, while German, Dutch and Namibian imports fell.

The recent weakening of sterling against the euro and more non-EU markets coming available suggest future export prospects are fairly positive.

EBLEX said nine additional non-EU export markets had been made available, most of them in Africa. It was hoped the new markets could improve carcass utilisation as they demanded parts of the carcass not widely used domestically.

“Consumption of offal in the UK has been relatively stable between 2008 and 2010 at 16,500t, with household purchases of pig and lamb liver responsible for almost half of UK consumption. With limited opportunities on the UK market, additional export opportunities for fifth quarter edible products are welcome.”