Supplies of sheep meat in Europe fall

Monday, 7 September 2020

By Rebecca Wright

In the first six months of the year sheep meat production in the EU-27 contracted to around 210,300 tonnes. Production fell in almost all of the five largest sheep meat producing countries, which combined account for 80% of total production.

Production recorded some year-on-year gains during February and March having been at a lower level than usual during those months in 2019.  Similar to the UK, production tumbled during April and May largely due to various COVID-19 measures. Production returned to more typical levels during June.

During the first five months of 2020 EU imports of sheep meat have declined 10,800 tonnes, to 54,500 tonnes. The decline is entirely accounted for in a drop in imports from the UK and New Zealand, 7,200 and 3,000 tonnes respectively. Much of the decline came during the height of the pandemic. Volumes from the UK were much quicker to record changes due to the shorter shipping time.

Similar to the UK, demand in Europe declined sharply while countries were in lockdown. Although in the UK some of the lost foodservice demand translated over into retail sales, this was less true on the continent.

Rebecca Wright

Analyst - Red Meat

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