Global meat demand reduces import threat

Strong global demand for meat and currency fluctuations mean that Australia and New Zealand are losing their competitive edge on lamb imports, analysis from Quality Meat Scotland has shown.

Stuart Ashworth, head of economics Services at Quality Meat Scotland, said that both countries have seen declining stock numbers and strong demand from the Middle East and Asia.

“Most of our lamb imports are from New Zealand and Australia – together they cover more than two-thirds of global lamb exports. Both have seen declining stock numbers, although in recent years this decline may now have stopped,” he said.

“With Australia a major supplier in the Middle East and New Zealand having recently brokered a bilateral free trade agreement with China, it means that although the EU will always be a major customer, there are a number of other countries looking for a bigger share of what is a fairly static supply.”

He also pointed out that the population of the UK is expected to grow by 8% by 2020, so there will be a rise in demand for meat within the UK. Additionally, projections by the Food and Agriculture Organisation suggest that global demand for sheep and goat meat will increase by 78% by 2050.

“When we take into account our growing export activity this means we will be selling into, and buying from, an increasingly tightly supplied global market,” said Ashworth.

Ashworth will present the findings at this year’s National Sheep Association Scotland AGM in Dunblane today (13 February).