UK beef self-sufficiency and impacts of Brexit

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In 2019, the UK was 86% self-sufficient for Beef. This was an increase of 6% on the previous year due to a combination of increased production and reduced consumption. More beef needed to be exported to balance the market.

With self-sufficiency at this level, the UK is of course a net importer of beef year after year.

In 2019, the gap between UK beef production and domestic consumption was 152,000 tonnes. In order to fill this deficit 315,000 tonnes of beef were imported, as 163,000 tonnes were exported.

Total beef production in 2019 reached 914,500 tonnes, consumption during the same period was estimated at 1.1 million tonnes. International trade is important not only to meet demand, but also balance the carcase, and demand for the different cuts of beef that are purchased by consumers in the UK. Most of the beef that is imported comes in the form of fresh boneless beef, and the EU market is an important destination for cow beef for example. Exports tend to be at a lower price than imports.


By Charlie Reeve

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