Year-on-year increases in EU shipments to the UK have been driven by higher exports from Ireland which made up 72% (670t) of the EU volume in May.

However, UK exports of fresh and frozen sheepmeat for May were down 27% on the previous month, but up 10% year-on-year.

The UK exported 5,300t of sheepmeat in May, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Destination of exports

5,000t of UK sheepmeat headed to the EU, which was up 8% on last year.

Nearly half of these exports were destined for France (2,400t) – up 5% year-on-year.

However, the AHDB said that some exporters prefer to channel exports intended for the wider EU through France, not all of these exports directly ended up on the French market.

Other key EU destinations of UK lamb exports were Germany, Belgium and Ireland.

bar chart showing volume of UK sheep meat exports by region
Source: AHDB


Imports of sheepmeat into the UK for May stood at 6,200t, which was roughly on par with what was seen in April.

It was, however, up 30% (1,400t) from last year. As a result, this means that volumes of imported sheepmeat surpassed exports in May by 800t.

The AHDB said that imports are gradually returning to the volumes seen before Covid-19.

66% (or 4,000t) of UK imports arrived from New Zealand, which is in line with volumes from April.

Australia and the EU each exported roughly 900t of sheepmeat to the UK in May – equalling a 15% share each.

The AHDB said that the year-on-year increase in EU shipments to the UK has been driven by higher exports from Ireland which made up 72% (670t) of the EU volume in May.

bar chart showing volumes of UK imports of sheep meat by region
Source: AHDB

Figures for the year-to-date (Jan-May), show that the UK has a small trade surplus of 1,500t in sheepmeat.

The AHDB said that exports are standing at 30,000t (23% annual increase) vs imports of 28,500t (21% annual increase).