Exports of beef, lamb and pork from the UK have surpassed the £500m mark for the first six months of 2017 – up 18% year-on-year.
The new data from HMRC shows that exports to non-EU countries have also risen, with the Asian markets continuing to offer exciting opportunities for beef, lamb and pork.
According to figures, there has also been a 21% increase in offal exports, taking the total value of shipments from the three sectors to £582m.
In the first half of the year, beef exports to countries outside of Europe are up 45% year-on-year to almost 8000 tonnes. This has resulted in a 62% rise in value to £23.5m.
Third country pork exports rose by nearly 4% in volume to 41,000 tonnes – more than half of which has gone to China where there has been a 6% rise in exports in the first half of the year, worth £24m.
Total recorded lamb exports to both European and non-EU countries have performed well for the first half of 2017, with volumes up 18% valued at £178m.
And while it’s a lower proportion, exports of sheep meat to non-EU countries have doubled in 2017 so far.
AHDB’s head of livestock export trade development Jean-Pierre Garnier, said these latest figures ‘paint a positive picture’ for the meat export industry.
“It is very encouraging to see an increase in exports to non-EU countries and a strong progression in value as this is an important area for our meat exports with the challenge of Brexit.
“AHDB recognises the importance of developing balanced international trade that does not rely solely on the EU, but we also cannot underestimate the importance of Europe as two-thirds of our meat exports are still destined for the EU.
“However, we understand the challenges that our meat industry faces and we must look at new 
Key target markets such as Hong Kong and China have led the growth of exports to non-EU countries this year – with the latest data showing a four-fold increase in chilled beef exports to Hong Kong as well as a 91% rise in chilled lamb.
Non-EU exports are expected to rise even further following the recent announcement of a £200m trade deal for pork access to China and a £34m deal to export beef to the Philippines.
AHDB Exports has been attending numerous world-leading food and drink events around the world during 2017 in a bid to showcase the UK’s high quality meat on a global stage.
Next month, AHDB will be attending Asia’s leading hospitality expo – the three-day Restaurant and Bar trade show in Hong Kong.
It follows on from the Speciality Fine Food Show in Singapore last month and the world-famous SIAL exhibition in China in May.
The levy board is also leading a mission of meat exporters to key African markets next month to meet with leading supply chain participants.
Meanwhile, AHDB Pork attended the American Food Fair in Chicago earlier this year in a bid to boost pig meat exports. The USA is a growing market for pork with exports up by 2.6% in the first six months of the year to 4500 tonnes.
Mr Garnier added: “We are targeting key markets outside of the EU where we are confident meat exports can continue to add value. Working with government and other organisations in the UK we have been able to help open up markets which have been closed to us for many years.”