Meat & Livestock News

Australia Hits Record A$17 Billion in Red Meat Exports in 2023


  • In 2023, Australia achieved a record export value of A$17.08 billion from 1.84 million shipped weight tonnes of red meat to over 100 countries.
  • China, the United States, Japan, and Korea are key markets, with China being the top importer of Australian red meat. The Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement boosted exports to the UK significantly.
  • Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) global market snapshots highlight growth opportunities, emphasising the importance of premium products and expanding into new markets.

In 2023, Australia set a new benchmark by exporting red meat worth a record A$17.08 billion, encompassing 1.84 million shipped weight tonnes, to more than 100 countries. This achievement underscores the country’s pivotal role in the global red meat industry, as detailed in Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) annual global market snapshots for 2024.

These snapshots offer a comprehensive overview of the distribution of volume and value across various markets, alongside insights into demand drivers and growth opportunities for Australian red meat worldwide.

The reports, covering 14 key markets for beef and sheepmeat, are designed to provide industry stakeholders with essential information on consumer demographics, habits, and trends. They also include vital export statistics, trade access updates, and an analysis of the competitive landscape, thereby equipping Australian exporters with the knowledge to leverage their competitive advantages effectively.

China remains the largest importer of Australian red meat by volume, with significant imports of beef and lamb. The demand in China is driven by a growing affluent consumer base and an increasing appreciation for high-quality red meat products. The United States and Japan also continue to be major markets for Australian red meat, with the US focusing on premium grass fed beef and lamb products and Japan being a significant importer of Australian beef, offering both fresh meat and ready-to-eat options.

The snapshots also highlight the rapid growth of the Korean market for Australian lamb, facilitated by Korea’s extensive e-commerce platforms.

Additionally, the recent Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement has markedly increased red meat exports to the United Kingdom, showcasing the potential for further expansion in this market.

Miho Kondo, MLA’s Manager of Global Market Insights and Adoption, emphasised the emerging opportunities in regions like the Middle East and Southeast Asia, driven by young, affluent consumers. The increasing demand for dining out and non-local cuisine, along with the acceptance of packaged meat products in modern retail, presents significant growth prospects for Australian red meat exporters.

Kondo also highlighted the importance of MLA’s market snapshots in providing up-to-date data and insights, crucial for maintaining Australia’s competitive edge and identifying growth opportunities in the global market. Understanding target consumers and market dynamics is key to maximising returns in specific sectors and segments.

This report not only showcases Australia’s strong position in the global red meat market but also outlines the strategic directions for future growth, emphasising the importance of premium products and market expansion.