Scots spending more on red meat with sector valued at £926m

Scottish households have continued to increase their spending on beef, lamb and pork during the first half of 2023, according to Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

Increased revenue from beef has pushed up the Scottish red meat sector’s total output by 5% in 2022, with QMS estimating it at £926m.

See also: Frustration over lack of detail on Scots future farm support

QMS’s 2023 Red Meat Industry Profile report found that overall turnover increased for a third consecutive year, despite lower revenues from pork and lamb.

Average farmgate prices for prime cattle in Scotland were 10p/kg higher than in England and Wales during 2022 at 439p/kg.

Looking at Scotland’s abattoir output, beef was valued at £668m, sheepmeat at £119m, pigmeat at £39m, offal at £78m, and skins and hides at £24m in 2022.

Prime sheep prices averaged 254p/kg liveweight in 2022 at Scottish auction marts, down by 3% on the previous year, according to the report.

Iain Macdonald, market intelligence manager at QMS, said: “Outside of a positive Christmas trading period, consumer demand for lamb struggled given its position as an expensive protein and the pressure on household budgets from a rising cost of living.”

The Scottish pig sector reportedly struggled with high feed costs and backlogs, leading to large losses for producers in the first half of 2022.

“By the end of the year, a sharp contraction in breeding pig numbers had fed through to supplies, providing further support to market prices, while feed costs had begun to fall back,” he added.

Five-year red meat plan

QMS launched a five-year red meat export strategy at this year’s Royal Highland Show in a bid to make Scotland “the choice for premium red meat across the world”.

The strategy will focus on using the Scotch brands and QMS have engagement roadshows planned for the Autumn.

Sarah Millar, QMS chief executive, said: “Our aim is to make Scotland the choice for premium red meat, but we must be unwavering and commercial in our focus in order to achieve this.

“We know what success looks like. It will be an industry with greater confidence, with profitability and productivity at its heart, delivering a product high in demand, viewed by our customers – here and overseas – as their premium red meat choice.”

Scottish government’s 10-year food and drink strategy

Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousaf, also announced £5m in government funding at the Royal Highland Show.

The funding is being provided to support the Scottish food and drink sector, with a further £1m in funding being provided by industry.

The government strategy aims to increase turnover in the Scottish food and drinks sector by 25% by 2028.

NFU Scotland vice-president Alasdair Macnab said: “Scotland’s £3.3bn agricultural industry is the lynchpin of the rural economy, and through working collaboratively to implement the new industry strategy, we can achieve further sustainable growth for our farmers and crofters.”