Exports of Scottish meat products rose by 11% in 2016.
The new figures from the Scottish government highlight the importance of the meat trade, as the country recorded a record year for overall food and drink exports.
Last year, Scottish food and drink exports grew by £421 million (m) to reach a record £5.5 billion, reflecting an 8% increase, according to the data.
Within the meat category, exports grew 11% to £72m, 90% of which was to Europe. Research conducted by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) indicated that the key markets for PGI Scotch Beef and Lamb were France and the Benelux region - which makes up 67.8% of beef and lamb exports from Scotland.
While PGI Scotch Beef and Lamb has a strong presence in these areas, QMS aims boost its reputation in other key growth export markets including Sweden and Denmark.
Meanwhile, the Scottish red meat industry’s exports to Germany saw an increase of 23% during 2016, with exports to the Nordic countries rising 19% and to Poland and Baltic countries increasing by 197%. Demand from eastern Europe drove exports to that region up by 444%.
Elsewhere, trade to countries outside of the EU, mainly to South Africa, Hong Kong and Thailand, represented 5.4% of total Scottish red meat exports for the year.
“The export figures published by the Scottish government are encouraging and show there are still substantial opportunities for the Scottish red meat industry to develop and grow business inside and outside of the EU,” said Laurent Vernet, QMS head of marketing.
“We have also been working hard with other trade partners such as Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Development International and the UK Export Certificate Partnership to open key markets such as the US, China and Japan which offer exciting opportunities for the future.”