Demand from smaller markets helped drive a 6% growth in the volume of UK beef exports in 2014, according to EBLEX.

Full export figures for the year revealed that the UK exported 112,055 tonnes of UK beef in 2014, compared to 105,311 shipped the previous year.

Among the highlights were the performances of shipments to smaller European markets, with exports to Greece up fourfold and increasing to Denmark by 23%. Shipments to Sweden saw a 66% increase on the year, while Portugal took 43% more product in 2014 than 2013.

Volume cuts of sheep meat accounted for 43% of total sheep meat exports in 2014 at 43,431 tonnes.

Jean-Pierre Garnier, EBLEX export manager, said cultivating export markets to maximise their potential for the benefit of the entire supply chain is one of the cornerstones of EBLEX’s work.

He said that the UK volume export figures for UK beef in 2014 make for very encouraging reading.

“We are competing in a volatile global market where spread of risk plays an increasingly significant role. While the volume of product shipped to smaller European markets isn’t as large as to some of our more established markets, we are clearly making positive strides in the right direction.

“While overall sheep meat exports are reported to be marginally down on the year, we suspect these may ultimately be revised upwards to show positive growth in line with our own intelligence, as has happened a number of times through the year. The figures relating to shipments of sheep meat cuts, however, are encouraging and underpin EBLEX’s export strategy.

“We will continue to work towards maximising full carcase utilisation to help develop our export potential as we move forwards in 2015.”