UK beef exports to Japan add £5.4 million boost to the red meat sector

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Written by William Kellett

Exports of beef from the UK to Japan enjoyed significant growth in 2020 – bringing a £5.4 million boost to the red meat sector.

According to the latest figures from HMRC, in 2020, 1,581t of beef and offal were shipped to Japan, rising from a modest 734t in 2019 despite a challenging year for UK exports.

Last year was the UK’s first full year of exporting beef to Japan, after gaining market access early in 2019, following an absence from the market for over two decades.

This month, it has also been confirmed that UK sausages are now eligible for export to Japan following ongoing discussions with the Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency, bringing further potential opportunities for red meat exporters.

Labelling requirements

The new access is subject to labelling requirements and the term ‘raw sausages’ must be visible on the front or back labels to show it is necessary to cook the product.

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) head of Asia Pacific Jonathan Eckley said the latest figures and new access for UK sausages, highlights the numerous opportunities that Japan presents.

He said:

“Despite the challenges 2020 presented to UK exporters, it is encouraging to see significant growth in our beef exports to Japan.

These impressive figures were from a standing start position having only gained access to the new market in 2019.
“Japan remains a strategic market for the AHDB and the UK red meat sectors as a significant meat import market.

“In 2020, Japan was one of four strategic international markets where AHDB appointed a specialist PR agency to support our work, this has been critically important in maintaining momentum during these challenging times,” he concluded.

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