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North America market update

19 December 2023

Growing awareness of and preference for Aussie beef, lamb, and goat in North America.

As Australian red meat supply picks up, MLA is supporting exporters and levy payers to capitalise on the positive trading conditions in North America.

Key points of exports to North America in 2023 include:

  • a tale of two trends with beef exports up, and sheep and goat meat exports down
  • a continuing strong demand for Australian red meat
  • an opportunity to increase Australian red meat sales growth with customer education.

Conflicting trends for beef and sheep

The 2023 calendar has been marked by a turn-around year for Australian beef exports to North America with beef slaughter ratio continuing to sit above 3%, currently the third highest on record.

While Australian beef and lamb imports into the US are tariff and quota free, year to date sheepmeat export volumes are back compared to 2022, amidst reduced US imports of lamb overall.

However, sales are expected to spike during the holiday period which might create more room for Aussie sheepmeat before the year’s end and into early 2024.

Demand for beef continues to grow

The US is expected to be a key market for Australian beef in 2024, for three key reasons:

  1. Of the major beef markets, the US is performing the best economically, and the USD is relatively strong against the AUD.
  2. The number of lotfed cattle in Australia has increased by about 40% over the past decade, meaning the supply of Australian grainfed beef is close to (or at) all-time highs, when forecast availability of US grainfed beef towards the second half of 2024 is down. This means that Australian beef will be applicable outside the lean trim trade.
  3. The USDA is forecasting a drop in US beef production of 508,930 tonnes in 2024 with demand remaining strong.

Opportunity to increase sales growth overall

Forecasted declining availability of US beef and lamb has heightened interest from US foodservice operators and retailers to work with Australian red meat products, some for the first time.

For trade partners talking to customers about Australian red meat products, the Aussie Meat Academy is a source of knowledge, inspiration, and motivation to support sales and marketing efforts.

The quality, consistency, traceability, and sustainability of Australian red meat products are key selling points covered in Aussie Meat Academy education sessions occurring across the US, Canada and Mexico.

Reach out to MLA’s North America-based Business Development Manager Sabina Kindler at to schedule a session with your team or customer today.

MLA Consulting Corporate Chef Adam Moore, Business Development Manager Sabina Kindler, and Marketing Executive Claire Loker delivering an Aussie Meat Academy event at Marriott Hotels Corporate HQ in Washington DC.