Opportunities extend past Russia

July 20, 2018

Russian meat exports have declined dramatically throughout the first half of 2018, standing at 203,500 tonnes (t), a fall of almost 70% compared to the same period in 2017.

This is the culmination of a steady decline of exports to Russia since the introduction of the so-called food embargo by the Russian Government in August 2014, which banned the importation of meat from the European Union, the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and several other countries.

Exacerbating the situation, President Vladimir Putin has just announced that the embargo will be extended until 31st December 2019. The reasons for the extension remain the subject of debate which centres around a response to Western sanctions and support the country’s domestic meat industry.

But whatever Putin’s rationale, is it something for UK producers to be concerned about?

Colin Taylor, chief executive at Rick Bestwick says the future is brighter than ever. “Meat exports to Russia have been slowing down for a long time, yet beef is still the UK’s sixth most commonly exported food/drink product. Global demand for British and Irish beef is stronger than ever as demand increases in many east Asian countries.”

“Recent news from other countries such as the lift on China’s exporting ban, estimated to be worth £250 million in the first five years alone, represents a golden opportunity for British beef farmers and food manufacturers. It’s an opportunity that we’re pursuing here at Rick Bestwick and we’ve already started the preparations for licensing.”

“We export to a host of countries worldwide but the biggest shift we’ve seen in recent years has been a substantial increase in the volume of products being shipped to the far east – particularly proteins such as pork and chicken, consumption of which is increasing as GDP and the middle class grow.”

“Not only is there demand in China, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand for British meat, they are also keen to receive a much wider range of cuts than those currently enjoyed by UK consumers – with that comes the possibility to maximise the value of every part of the carcass in a much bigger market than present.”

“Businesses should feel confident that while the door on Russia may be closed for now, the opportunities across other parts of the world are continuing to grow, and by working with a reactive and experience partner such as Rick Bestwick, will set themselves up for a bright future of exporting.”