UK red meat exports close to “record year” driven by demand for lamb

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The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has announced that red meat exports from the UK in 2023 were worth £1.7 billion, which it said was “largely driven by strong demand for UK lamb” on international markets.

Full year figures from HMRC showed that in 2023 red meat exports, including offal, achieved a similar level in value to the “record year” of 2022. AHDB said that this was underpinned by the performance of exports of sheep meat, particularly to the EU.

According to AHDB, the total value of red meat shipments to the EU during the period was up 2% on the year at £1.3 billion while volumes fell by 12% on the year. Within this, AHDB said that sheep meat exports to France – the UK’s largest market – was the “standout” with shipments increasing by 23% in value to £292 million and 23% in volume on the year to 45,000 tonnes.

AHDB said that elsewhere, shipments to Germany made a “notable increase” – up in value by 15% to £108 million and in volume by 12%. This supported the overall value of total sheep meat exports, increasing by 11.7% to £562 million.

Sheep meat exports to non-EU markets were also up 10% in volume but down 15% in value, with shipments to Ghana “leading the way”. Exports to Ghana experienced a year-on-year increase in volume of 11% at around 1,200 tonnes and in value by 12% to £1.4 million.

Jonathon Eckley, AHDB head of international trade development, said: “Sheep meat exports were undoubtedly the standout success of 2023, driven by demand from high-value markets in Europe like France and evolving markets in West Africa.

Meat Management

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