Strong demand for beef and pork predicted in 2023 – QMS

Beef and pork farmgate prices should be well supported in 2023, with increased demand from Asia in particular boosting global red meat markets.

Latest forecasts from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) suggest that global beef production is set to drop slightly in the year ahead, while consumption is expected to remain firm.

A projected fall in beef output in the US of 6.5% will offset smaller increases in production in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, China and the UK.

See also: Tight supply to support global pork trade in 2023

Global beef trade is, however, likely to increase slightly, with QMS expecting imports to account for 18% of global consumption in 2023, an increase of 0.3% on year-earlier levels.

QMS market intelligence manager Iain Macdonald says a relatively tight global beef market and increased trade should generate firm beef prices.

“China and Hong Kong will be the main drivers, with an expected 1.5% rise of import volumes as they reduce Covid restrictions domestically and reopen to overseas tourists and business people,” he suggested.

“While China and Hong Kong are set to collectively account for more than 80% of the net increase in beef imports, tight supply is also projected to boost imports to the US and Japan, while strong demand in Korea is expected to fuel a further lift in imports, despite higher domestic output,” he added.

In the UK, cattle prices have already been well supported in recent months.

Deadweight steers averaged 458.8p/kg for the week ending 28 January, up by more than 50p/kg on year-earlier levels, and up by 80p/kg compared with January 2021.


Global pork production is projected to increase by 0.3% year-on-year to 114m tonnes, according to US Department of Agriculture’s forecasts.

However consumption growth will outweigh this, leading to higher global import volumes.

Mr Macdonald said: “Although China has a stronger foothold on global import demand than before the African swine fever crisis, imports across all other countries are set to be 8% higher this year than in 2018, highlighting that significant opportunities will lie elsewhere.”


UK lamb production is forecast by QMS to be higher in 2023, due to a larger carryover from 2022.

GB deadweight lamb prices are already back by almost 70p/kg on year-earlier levels, averaging 510p/kg on 28 January.

Mr Macdonald said New Zealand lamb continues to look competitive in 2023, with farmgate prices about 20% lower than in early 2022. Australia’s lamb processors are also becoming more active in export markets.

“At EU level, the EU Commission has forecast a slight uplift in production for 2023 but, with consumption projected to rise by 1%, a 4% lift in imports is modelled, and this should help support UK exports,” he said.