On the first anniversary of the reopening of export markets for British beef, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the economic development body for the Scottish red meat industry, has revealed that of the 4,000t of product exported so far, two thirds has been prime beef and a third cowbeef.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) on 28 April, QMS senior business analyst Stuart Ashworth reported that Scotland is bucking the trend as far as the predominance of prime exports is concerned.
"What these breakdown figures tell us is that there's still a substantial market for quality prime beef in Europe and the reputation of the Scottish industry to supply that has stood the test of time," he said.
"At the time of the markets reopening there was a school of thought suggesting the export market would be driven by cowbeef. That has not happened in Scotland. What our exporting companies are finding is that the nature of their trade from Scotland, accurately reflects our production model with its emphasis on supplying a premium product aimed at a niche market."
Analysis of the export market by QMS shows that ten Scottish meat companies have been involved in the trade to a varying degree.
They have exported 4,000t worth an estimated £12m, a mix of bone in and boneless products and almost all is fresh or chilled. The principal markets reported by traders is France, Belgium, Holland and Italy.