Japanese buyers visit the UK to explore opportunities for red meat

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

This week red meat exporters from the UK met with key buyers from Japan to explore trade opportunities.

Five Japanese importers joined us on a five-day mission to learn about sustainable beef, lamb and pork production.

The mission – the first inward mission from Asia since the pandemic – included a number of farm visits in the north of England and a tour of an abattoir and meat processing site. The trip culminated on 25 May with a networking dinner at Butchers' Hall in London, where the delegation met leading beef, lamb and pork exporters from the UK and explored new business opportunities.

Last year UK red meat exports hit record levels, with a value of £1.7 billion. This included beef exports to Japan, which saw an increase in value of 68% to £16.3m.

Our analysis, Prospects for UK agri-food exports, launched earlier this year, also identified opportunities for UK pork, beef and lamb in Japan as a high-value economy and net importer.

Jonathan Eckley, Head of International Trade Development, said:

“Japan is an important and growing market for our red meat exporters. We want to maximise the opportunities that are presented there, with a particular interest from Japanese consumers in high-welfare and environmentally sustainable food production which the UK is in a strong position to fulfil.

“The visit provided an ideal platform for us to showcase our sustainable, high production standards throughout the supply chain, as well as organising key meetings between Japanese buyers and UK exporters to potentially capitalise on opportunities in this valuable market.

“Export development is one of AHDB’s key strategic objectives, working collaboratively with industry and the Government, to cultivate further opportunities for our red meat and dairy sectors. Opportunities in Japan and other markets will be in the spotlight on 22 June at the AHDB Export Conference in London.

“Missions like this are instrumental in helping to develop relationships with buyers and key markets and helping our levy payers maximise the opportunities available to them. With this in mind, we will be organising another inward mission in July with visitors from North America, Asia and the Middle East, when they will experience what we have to offer first hand.”

Read our analysis of prospects for UK agri-food exports (Asia)

Image of staff member Jonathan Eckley

Jonathan Eckley

Head of International Trade Development

See full bio