Majority of beef demand growth to come from Asia in the next decade

Bord Bia tackle Chinese market at import fair

Crowds sample Irish beef at Bord Bia's stand at a major import fair in China.
Crowds sample Irish beef at Bord Bia's stand at a major import fair in China.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The majority of beef demand growth over the next ten years will be in Asia, top analysts of the sector have predicted.

In recent years, the Asian continent has been a significant growth area for global beef exports.

According to Tom Forshaw analyst with the UK’s Agriculture Horticulture Development Board, the growth is underpinned by numerous emerging economies, and growing household incomes throughout the region, beef exports in 2018 continue to grow at an astounding rate.

“Asia now accounts for almost 50pc of total global beef imports (including imports from both within and outside Asia).

“The top five beef importers in Asia (China, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and Hong Kong) account for around 80% of total Asian imports,” he said.

With the exception of Vietnam, which trades predominately with India, all have recorded strong growth in 2018, with the majority of beef sent to those countries coming from outside Asia.

Forshaw highlighted that China has recorded the strongest growth in the region, up around 46pc in the first eight months of 2018. Similarly, he said South Korea and Japan have also both recorded strong growth in the year.

“With a 14pc increase year-on-year, beef exports to South East Asian countries have also been growing.

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“A young population, increasing urbanisation and a booming tourism industry is impacting consumer demand and as a result, the demand for beef imports,” he said.

Buffalo meat from India still makes up a large majority of total imports however increasingly more beef is being sourced from elsewhere, as consumer demand for high-quality beef gains momentum. 

Major exporters, Australia, the US and New Zealand have all recorded growth in the region in the year to August.

Contrastingly, Europe has lost ground in the SE Asian market, predominantly due to Irish exports to the Philippines reducing significantly from 2017’s promising levels.

“Not including India, Australia is the largest exporter of beef into Asia, followed by Brazil and the US. “Together, these three countries account for almost 60pc of total Asian beef imports, including trade from within Asia, and as such continue to dominate the Asian market,” Forshaw said.

He said all three countries have good trade relationships within Asia and offer a well-known product which is extremely competitively priced.

China International Import Expo took place for the first time last week with an attendance of 150,000 buying professionals.

This initiative, driven by President Xi Jingping, is part of China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road strategy to encourage global trade. 11 Irish exhibitors across beef, pigmeat and dairy exhibited on the Bord Bia stand. Ireland was the only stand where European beef could be tasted.

President Xi, himself attended the event on Monday.

Tara McCarthy and Minister of State Andrew Doyle also attended earlier in the week as did Sinead McPhillips and Paula Barry-Walsh, from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who travelled to Shanghai following technical meetings on expanding access with officials in Beijing.

Ambassador Yue of the China Embassy in Dublin also visited the Bord Bia stand.

Online Editors

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