UK beef exports seen as premium

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

AHDB Beef & Lamb is working hard to open up China's market for British beef
AHDB Beef & Lamb is working hard to open up China's market for British beef

Related tags Uk beef exports International trade Uk Beef Lamb Pork

Thanks to an “unparalleled” rain-fed pasture system and nutrient-rich grass, UK beef exports are perceived globally as premium meat products, according to UK levy board AHDB Beef & Lamb.

This is according to a new video released by the levy board, which aims to highlight the UK’s strong position on the international meat stage and praise AHDB’s role in carving open lucrative markets like China.

Last year, the UK exported a record-setting 54,000 tonnes (t) of pigmeat to China, making it Britain’s largest pork importer, according to AHDB Beef & Lamb. And thanks to a strong pasture system, the UK has been able to open strong beef trade links in the foodservice sector in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.

The UK is able to export sheep meat products to more than 100 countries, with around 90 importing UK-based beef and pork. In addition to the UK's well-regarded premium beef, AHDB’s export team has played a key role in opening up markets for offal in both China and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Key UK export data

France imported 42,700t of sheepmeat in 2015
The Republic of Ireland shipped in 37,000t of beef
80% of UK offal is now exported

Low domestic value

The reason we are interested in exporting the fifth-quarter products is because it is pure added value,” ​said Peter Hardwick, head of exports at AHDB. “Most of these products have low or no value in the UK market. By finding markets for fifth-quarter products we are able to not only secure a value for them but, in some cases, find a very high value for a product that may be worth very little on the domestic market.​”

Hardwick, who heads up the export team at AHDB, said his team was focused on opening new markets for UK meat exports. Some of these included carving open China for beef and lamb, as well as gaining access to Japan, the US, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Mexico.

We have no access for beef and lamb to China and it is a priority to secure access to this major market,​” he added. “But we are already engaging with the Chinese authorities on seeking approval for the export of beef and lamb.​”

Hardwick also said securing new markets for the UK was “essential​” for a meat industry that needed to “compete in what is a volatile global market​”.

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