Blog: Overcoming restrictions to send UK beef to the US

Friday, 30 October 2020

AHDB’s export team works with industry and government to remove technical barriers around access to new markets, unlocking opportunities for UK products around the globe.

Among a number of target markets is the US, a country which represents an important potential destination for the UK’s red meat exports – following a longstanding ban on EU beef, introduced in the wake of the BSE outbreak in 1996.

Susana Morris is Senior Export Manager for North America and here she explains how she developed an idea to reach American consumers and put beef back on US plates for the first time in more than 20 years.

“Agreement to export beef from the UK to the US was reached in March of this year, which was a fantastic boost for beef farmers and processors in the UK and was the culmination of years of hard work by AHDB, government and industry to get this deal over the line,” said Susana.

“Our red meat products are renowned, globally, for their quality and high welfare standards, and now US consumers can again enjoy our beef for the first time in more than 20 years, with the first shipment sent at the end of September.”

With restrictions on travel, as a result of Covid-19, and no opportunity for AHDB to exhibit UK beef at trade shows, AHDB  needed to find a new and innovative way to showcase our offering to the American audience.

She added: “These are certainly challenging times, but it has meant that teams across AHDB have  had to think of new ways to reach our desired audience. Our role is vital in raising the profile of red meat on a global platform and it is imperative that our work continues despite the challenges we now face.”

During October, Susana joined forces with other teams across AHDB to run a series of ‘beef webinars’ as part of a hugely successful ‘virtual launch’, targeting key importers, influencers and members of the press in the US. The webinars included educational presentations about our cattle, butchery videos and a number of cookery demonstrations. The aim was to inspire our American audience to use beef from the UK in their cooking and offered advice on new cuts to the market.

These webinars were then followed by the delivery of meat boxes to key importers, which included sirloin cannon and a topside mini beef joint.

Susana said: “I’m really happy with the success of our virtual launch – it was the first time AHDB has organised an event like this one and it took a lot of planning and collaborative working to get this event prepared.

“We had some great feedback and real interest in our meat products. I know parts of Northern America are interested in traditional British cooking methods and are intrigued to know more about our beef and how to cook a typical ‘Sunday roast’. That is why I chose products such as the canon of beef and mini sirloin that really showcase the style of British cooking.

“I am so happy that AHDB has been instrumental in placing the first shipment of beef in the US in more than 20 years and I’m passionate about showcasing the high quality meat the UK has to offer.