EXPORTS of Scottish beef and lamb are now worth over £82 million annually – and the bulk of that trade is with EU member states.

The results of the annual exporters’ survey conducted by Quality Meat Scotland were revealed by its chair, Kate Rowell, speaking at this week's Anuga food and beverage fair in Cologne, Germany, where she said that even though Brexit uncertainty was casting an 'extremely unwelcome shadow' over European and international trade, the overseas demand for world-renowned Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI remained strong.

“We have promoted Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI at five international trade shows this year which have been instrumental in strengthening our relationships with our much-valued, long-established overseas customers who recognise all that sets our beef, lamb and pork apart – from our quality assurance and animal welfare messages, to our sustainability criteria.

“We also continue to seek out and welcome new export opportunities. New business leads from these fairs have been shared with all our processors resulting in new markets and customers coming on stream in the coming weeks,” said Mrs Rowell.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing, who also spoke at the QMS Anuga reception, said: “Scotland’s red meat sector continues to go from strength to strength with this survey providing the latest evidence of this fantastic growth. This just goes to show the strength of our globally renowned reputation for high quality and provenance. The red meat sector is a genuine success story and one I am committed to continue to champion at home and overseas.”

In the detail of the QMS survey, the beef export trade was valued at £50m, in the year up to July 2019, with the EU accounting for around 97% of beef exports by value and volume in the same period. Within that figure, by far the largest markets for Scotch Beef were France and Monaco, Italy, and the Netherlands. Collectively these accounted for a combined 62% of Scotch Beef export sales by value and 60% of the volume.

Austria and Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, and Denmark, Sweden and Finland were also important destinations, with combined sales totalling nearly £7.5m.

Over the same period, sheepmeat exports from Scotland totalled £32m, with the EU accounting for around 98% of that value and more than 99% of the volume, with France remaining the biggest fan of Scotch Lamb.

Overseas demand for 'fifth quarter' products – offals – generated almost £4m of revenue, although sales are estimated to have fallen back from the previous year.

The Anuga trade exhibition is huge, with 284,000m² of floorspace hosting over 165,000 trade visitors from 198 countries, making it a major event for many of the world’s most influential buyers.

QMS's attendance at Anuga was part financed from the £2 million fund of red meat levies ring-fenced for collaborative projects with Britain’s other meat levy bodies, the AHDB in England and HCC in Wales. This fund is an interim arrangement while a long-term solution is sought on the issue of levies being collected at point of slaughter in England for animals which have been reared in Scotland and Wales.