Due to the difficult market environment for some meats in 2019, the value of meat and livestock exports declined by 3% to €3.9 billion. This equates to over 30% of total food and drink exports. The value of beef exports declined by 10% reaching €2.1 billion. The volume of beef exported stood at around 560,000 tonnes. Muted demand by the UK was reflected in a 15% fall back in the value of beef exports there, valued at €990 million. Exporters responded to weakness in UK demand by channelling exports to other markets. Continental EU absorbed €995 million of Irish beef exports during 2019.
2019 saw the pigmeat sector benefit from a significant uplift in international prices. Exports increased by 14% since 2018, valued at €941 million. The UK was a key destination, absorbing 53% of pigmeat exports.