Exports of Irish beef to Sweden have soared by 184% – or €43 million – in the first six months of this year, according to Bord Bia’s mid-term review for Irish meat exports.

A total of 13,602t of Irish beef was exported to Sweden in the first six months of 2021. This is up from 6,126t in the same period last year.

Our meat exports performed strongly in 2021, despite lower volumes being exported, according to figures from the CSO (Central Statistics Office).

The total value of primary Irish beef exports is up 8% for the first six months of the year, despite volumes being back 3,496t.

This increase has been driven by growth in EU markets, and a positive price environment in the UK.

The UK has taken 95,516t of Irish beef in the first six months of the year.

While the volume of Irish beef exported to the UK is 11% less than the same period last year (down 12,226t), higher prices per kg means exports are up by over €3.8 million in value so far.

According to Bord Bia, beef exports to EU markets are performing strongly for the first six months of the year.

The volumes of Irish beef exported to EU markets are up by over 15,200t (18%) with total exports valued at €477 million.

Growth is being driven by strong gains in Sweden and France, while the Netherlands and Belgium have also recorded volume and value growth, according to the Irish food board.


Bord Bia has indicated that tight supplies of Swedish and continental beef along with higher prices, resulted in Irish beef being a more attractive proposition in the Swedish market.

The exceptional growth rate in Irish beef exports to Sweden is because of these factors, combined with the impact of lower Irish beef exports to Sweden in 2020.

Exports were lower in 2020 due to heavy culling of the herd in Sweden and a strong domestic self-sufficiency level. Prospects in this market for the remainder of 2021 remain good, according to Bord Bia.


Volumes of Irish beef exported to Italy are back 7.5% but values have remained strong at €74.6 million (back 1.5%) from the same time period in 2020, with demand from the retail sector being described as “strong” in terms of the volume and value achieved.

However, in the earlier part of the year Italy, like Ireland, had tight restrictions on the restaurant and hospitality sector, which only opened gradually in the early summer.

With a relatively high proportion of Irish beef exports normally destined for the food service sector, this impacted on overall demand levels in Italy, according to Bord Bia’s analysis.

Irish beef to International Markets

The Philippines took 10,778t of Irish beef in the first six months of the year, representing a drop of 11.2% when compared to the same time period last year.

This fall is being attributed to the return of a lockdown in the Philippines in early 2021, resulting in greater consumer uncertainty and economic challenges.

This environment favoured beef imports form more competitively priced exporters such as India and Brazil.

However, the beef import requirement in the Philippines remains high, so an improvement in the economic situation would see a return to a good import demand for Irish beef, according to Bord Bia.

Concluding, Bord Bia also noted that exports to Japan have fallen significantly and are down by nearly 52% in volume.