Thursday, 2 September 2021
EU sheep meat production during the first six months of 2021 totalled 200,000 tonnes, down 11,000 tonnes on the year, according to Eurostat data. The three largest producers are Spain, France and Ireland and combined account for nearly two thirds of production.
Imports into the bloc have noticeably decreased this year – down 13,000 tonnes to 43,700 tonnes in the first five months of 2021. The UK, New Zealand and Australia have historically been the largest suppliers. There are several contributing factors to the decline. Firstly, food service has largely been closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, and it is often the destination for imported sheep meat. There is also more trade friction between the UK and EU since the end of the transition period in January 2021. In addition, freight costs have increased globally, which is likely to have hampered the competitiveness of New Zealand and Australian sheep meat on the European market.
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