US beef exports set another new monthly record for March with the value reaching $1.07bn (€1bn), while the volume of 126,285t was 1% higher than March 2021 and the third highest monthly volume on record. That brings the value for the first quarter up to just over $3bn (€2.8bn), 41% higher than the same period last year with the volume up 6% to 353,852t.

While US meat exporters expect China to slow down in the second quarter, March was another strong performance with volume up 11% on March 2021 to 22,745t at a value of $207.7m (€195.9), a 26% increase.

This brings first-quarter exports to 62,237t, a 36% increase on the corresponding period last year with the value up 59% to $582m (€549m).

Taiwan also posted spectacular growth for US beef exports, climbing 47% to 18,243t, with the value almost doubled at $227.2m (€261.6).

The US now supplies 80% of Taiwan’s beef imports, a similar market share to Ireland in the UK.

South Korea was the top market for US beef exports in March, taking 26,834t, up 11% on the same month last year. This brings the first quarter total up to 75,445t.

Japan was the next most important market, taking 25,690t, 10% lower than the same period in 2021.

Beyond Meat struggle

While US beef exports soared in the first quarter, it was a very different picture for Beyond Meat, the meat alternative company that aims to present consumers with a non-meat-based product that replicates the taste of meat.

US beef export values exceeded $3bn in the first quarter of 2022.

Revenue increased by 1.2% to $109.455m (€103.259) but EBITDA was a loss of $78.9m (€74.4m) compared with a $10.8m (€10.2m) loss in the same period last year.

The company blamed “increased investments in marketing activities, particularly to support initiatives with foodservice customers, growth in non-production headcount levels, increased general and administrative expenses driven by ongoing consulting agreements”, while increased transport costs were also a factor.

Despite the disappointing results, the company expect full-year revenues to be between $560m (€528.3m) and $620m (€584.9m), an increase of between 21% to 33% on last year.