2014-2015 positive for red meat sector, says MIA

Matt Conway, MIA policy analyst.The 2014-15 season was positive for the New Zealand red meat industry, with the value of exports up by $1 billion on last season.

Overall exports of red meat and co-products were worth $7.7 billion for the season to the year-end September 2015, with beef exports contributing $3.2 billion, sheepmeat contributing $3 billion and co-products a further $1.5 billion, according to the Meat Industry Association (MIA)’s analysis of the most recent Statistics New Zealand figures.

The main 2014/2015 highlight was the strength of beef exports, up by $900 million compared to 2013-14, explains MIA policy analyst Matt Conway.

“This was partly driven by an increase of 11 percent in the volume of exports compared to the previous season, but the main factor was the increase in global demand and prices for beef internationally, particularly in the United States and China,” he says, adding that the increase in global demand for beef meant that the average value of New Zealand beef exports in 2014/15 was $7.40/kg, compared to $5.83/kg in the 2013/14 season.

Graph - Beef average monthly FOB value.

While beef exports increased in both volume and value compared to the previous season, sheepmeat exports were relatively steady, down three percent by volume but largely unchanged by value.

Exports of sheepmeat to China were down by 15 percent by volume and 16 percent by value compared to the previous season, but it remained New Zealand’s major market for sheepmeat taking exports of 135,000 tonnes worth $676 million.

“The decline in exports to China was largely offset by an increase in exports to other major markets such as the UK, USA and Germany,” explains Conway.

Exports of co-products increased six percent by value in 2014/15 compared to the previous season. China continued to be a major market for many of the co-products that the industry produces and accounted for 26 percent of total co-products exports for the season.

In particular, Conway highlights an increase in exports of tripe, which rose from $1.4 million in the 2013-14 season to $35.9 million in 2014-15.

“This growth was the result of the expansion of the number of plants being permitted to export tripe to China in mid-2014,” he says.

Overall, the red meat industry exported products to 120 countries around the world in 2014-15.

This article has appeared in Food NZ magazine (December 2015/January 2016) and is reproduced here with permission.

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