Meat & Livestock News

UK Red Meat Exporters Target US Market for Growth


  • UK red meat businesses are set to attend the Annual Meat Conference in the USA to promote British pork, beef, and lamb, highlighting quality and sustainability.
  • New legislation in California opens opportunities for UK pig meat exporters by setting higher animal welfare standards.
  • The US market presents significant growth opportunities for UK red meat, with demand for premium, high-welfare, and sustainably produced products.

In a strategic move to expand their global footprint, UK red meat exporters are gearing up to tap into the American market, known for its vast opportunities. Later this month, a delegation comprising four beef and lamb exporters will join forces with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) at the Annual Meat Conference (AMC) in Tennessee. This key visit aims to bolster British pork, beef, and lamb exports by showcasing their high quality and commitment to sustainability.

The spotlight is also on three UK pig meat exporters who are poised to benefit from California’s new Proposition 12 legislation, which came into effect on 1 January this year. The law mandates stricter animal welfare standards, including more freedom of movement for pigs, and prohibits the sale of pig meat that fails to meet these criteria in the state.

This legislative change opens a new avenue for UK exporters to cater to the Californian market’s demand for ethically produced meat.

Scheduled for 18–20 March 2024 in Nashville, the AMC offers an invaluable platform for UK exporters to network with over 1,900 meat industry professionals from across the USA. The joint stand shared by AHDB and HCC will not only allow key US retailers to sample British pork, beef, and lamb but also witness a butchery demonstration by AHDB’s master butcher, Martin Eccles.

Analysis by AHDB on the prospects for UK agri-food exports identifies the US as a promising market for the next decade, especially for pork, beef, and lamb. With pork import volumes in the US expected to rise, there is a growing appetite for premium products that adhere to high welfare and outdoor-bred standards. For UK beef, the differentiation lies in grass-fed and hormone-free products, setting them apart from domestic US production.

Although lamb consumption per capita in the US is low, pockets of high demand exist, making the US lamb market potentially worth £37 million to the UK in the first five years of trade.

Susana Morris, AHDB Senior Trade Development Manager, emphasises the importance of the AMC as a pivotal event for UK exporters to explore opportunities in the US market. The focus on quality and ‘naturalness’ aligns with US consumer preferences, positioning UK red meat to meet this demand effectively.