The figures, covering fresh, chilled and frozen cuts and carcases, showed that pig meat sales, down from €5.2 billion (bn) to €5bn, were the only negative export trend for the EU meat and livestock industry last year, with sales outside the EU of other categories and live animals all increasing. By contrast, imports of pig meat, bovine meat and meat preparations into the EU fell year-on-year, while they rose in other categories.
The fastest increase in EU meat and livestock exports in 2017 was of sheep and goat meat (also fresh, chilled and frozen), up 65.9% to €139m last year, albeit from a relatively low 2016 baseline of €84m. Bovine meat exports rose 17.9% from 2016’s €694m to €818m.
Meanwhile, poultry exports were relatively stable, edging up by 4.9% from €1.4bn to €1.5bn. Exports of offal, animal fat and other meats rose by 4.5% from €2.8bn to €3bn, while EU export sales of meat preparations rose from €1.2bn to €1.3bn last year (2017) – up 7.4%. Pet food exports were up €602m (+16.6%), from €3.6bn to €4.2bn.
Exports of live animals from the EU rose from €2.6bn in 2016 to €2.8bn in 2017, up 8.7%.
As for imports, EU livestock imports – already in comparatively small volumes – were down by 16.6%, from €280m in 2016 to €233m in 2017.
For meat imports, meat preparations were most significant category in decline – down 10.1% by €212m (from €2.1bn to €1.9bn). Bovine meat exports were also down substantially – from €1.75bn in 2016 to €1.68bn (-4%). Pig meat, already imported in small quantities, edged down from €32m to €30m.
Meanwhile, poultry meat imports rose by 8.3% from €298m in 2016 to €323m last year. And sheep and goat meat imports were steady – up 1.4% at €978m (up from €965m in 2016). Pet food imports into the EU were up 15.6% from €1.1bn to €1.27bn.
This positive performance by the EU meat and livestock sector helped boost the overall EU agri-food industry’s exports, so that it generated a record €137.9bn in receipts last year, up 5.1% compared to 2016, said a report from the EU executive.