The organisations said that carcase meat represented the majority of exports, with beef making up 18.8% of the total, lamb and mutton 16.3%, poultry 13.1% and pork 7.4%. They added that exports of beef offal to the Far East were the fastest-growing, having doubled over the past two years to reach £612m in 2011.
Jean-Pierre Garnier, export manager for Eblex and Bpex, said: “These impressive figures vindicate our efforts and those of individual exporters to boost exports of livestock products over the last few years.
“Global forces, such as tight supply and a favourable exchange rate, have certainly played a part in increasing our export opportunities. However, without strategic planning and hard work we would not be in a position to take advantage of the situation.
“We are particularly pleased to see such positive results from our activities around offal and by-products, as well as our joint initiatives with government to open new markets.
“With a strong export plan in place for 2012-13, we can foresee further expansion not only in our core Western European markets but also in the Far East, sub-Saharan Africa and many other markets.”
He added that the high level of enthusiasm and confidence among meat exporters was a good sign for the future.
In January, the UK government announced the creation of a Food and Drink Exports Action Plan to help producers penetrate high growth markets, such as India and China. The move was welcomed by the meat industry, including Eblex and Bpex, which have already been campaigning on the Asian market for some time.
The International Meat Trades Association (IMTA) also hailed the action plan, but pointed out that, for the success of British meat exports, the government needed to allocate sufficient funds to bring veterinary export certification systems up to date.