Taking a global view of the red meat market, food consultancy firm Gira’s Rupert Claxton identified export opportunities in emerging markets, including lamb as a niche, high-quality, high-value protein. While weak EU demand and tight margins linked to rising input costs and dampened spending in the recession were of concern, Claxton said the Northern Irish red meat industry faced more positive market conditions than had existed for many years.
He recommended consolidation of export gains and a focus on productivity gains, with an overall red meat marketing approach of ‘meat produced in a good way’. In addition to niche sheepmeat marketing opportunities, Claxton said the industry could capitalise on higher beef mince prices and intelligent high-end promotions.
“Demand in the developed world is static,” he said, “with growth driven by developing countries.”
However, tight global supply of beef, lamb and mutton is lifting global prices, and shortening supply in and out of the EU market.
The four key global beef exporters were identified as Brazil, Australia, the US and the EU, with export market growth opportunities focused on the Middle East, Africa and Poland.
With global sheepmeat supply tight and prices high, Australia, New Zealand and the EU are the main suppliers into export markets. The Middle East represents a huge halal lamb market, said Claxton. “There are strong markets out there, but very few players in them,” he said.