Scottish red meat exporters attending one of the world’s largest food fairs in Germany this week appear united in the view that the export market remains a very important opportunity for Scotland.
Speaking at Anuga in Cologne today (Monday 12th October) Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) revealed that despite the on-going challenges of the global economy, including the influence of exchange rates, Scotland’s exports of red meat have held steady during the past year.
The annual survey of Scottish red meat exporters by QMS has revealed a 4.3 per cent increase in the total red meat exported from Scotland for the year ending September 2015 to approximately £76.6 million (excluding fifth quarter value).
Beef represented 55% of the total red meat exported from Scotland, with lamb accounting for 45%.
Mr McLaren said it was vital that the Scottish industry continues to meet the demands of overseas markets for high quality produce. However, he also drew attention to the importance of export markets in terms of optimising returns for the entire carcase.
“While there is demand from overseas customers for the very top end of quality products from Scotland there is also encouraging volume demand from overseas markets for fifth quarter and lower value products. This is good news in terms of optimising returns for the whole carcase,” said Mr McLaren.
The steady demand for Scottish products overseas should send out a positive signal to livestock producers for the long-term, he added.
QMS’s export strategy in recent years has focused on developing opportunities in Germany and the Nordics, along with the existing well-established target markets of France, Italy and the Benelux.
Feedback from the main Scottish processors involved in exports, who provide the information to QMS on a voluntary basis, reveals that France is still the main importer of red meat from Scotland, accounting for £37.5 million of total exports.
The other main countries importing from Scotland are Belgium (£10.5 million) and The Netherlands (£10.4 million and notably up by 43% year on year.
The total value of red meat exports to Italy is £8.8 million (up by eight per cent year on year) and the Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) account for £8.8 million of total exports.
Around £3.1 million of red meat from Scotland is exported to Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with third countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa and Northern America) accounting for a total of £1.4 million.