Canadian beef exports are on track to outpace last year’s exports, as well as the five-year average.
From January to September, exports were up 25 per cent in volume and up 38 per cent in value, compared to last year. In the first nine months of 2021, export volumes increased to the U.S. (16 per cent), Japan (35 per cent), Mexico (104 per cent), mainland China (118 per cent), SE Asia (excluding Taiwan, 243 per cent), South Korea (95 per cent), the EU (excluding UK, 32 per cent), and the Middle East and North Africa (42 per cent). Exports declined to Hong Kong and Macau (-35 per cent), Taiwan (-42 per cent), and the UK (-37 per cent).
While export volumes remain well above 2020 levels and the five-year average (23 per cent), monthly volumes dropped from the previous month for the first time since February. September’s export volume totalled 44,304 tonnes, valued at $436 million. Federally inspected slaughter in September 2021 at 322,254 head was up just 1.8 per cent from last year and up 26 per cent from the five-year average. September was the largest slaughter month to date, up 19 per cent from August. Slower export volumes mean that more product was available on the domestic market.
Exports to Japan on pace to break records
Strong demand for Canadian beef in Japan could add up to a record year for exports. Canada’s beef exports to Japan surpassed 44,000 tonnes in September, and exports could reach 60,000 tonnes by year’s end.
As of June, Canada represented 8.1 per cent of Japan’s total beef imports, which was up two per cent from last year. Japan represents 11.8 per cent of Canada’s total beef exports, the second-largest market after the U.S. The last five years have seen an average of 34,000 tonnes, with a high of 49,333 tonnes in 2019 and a low of 20,583 tonnes in 2016.
Primal exports to Japan have shifted. In 2020, flank and plate were the popular performing primals, representing 25 per cent of volume. Chuck (28 per cent) and offal (19 per cent) are now outperforming flank and plate (18 per cent).
The majority of beef demand in Japan stems from traditional dishes such as Japanese/Korean BBQ and beef bowl cuisine. Korean BBQ consists of thinly sliced short plate and chuck cuts as well as several offal cuts including beef tongue, outside skirt, hanging tender, small and large intestine. In the popular winter beef bowls, cuts from the chuck primal are sliced thinly. This reflects in the most popular primal demands.
Japan’s top suppliers are Australia, the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Exports in the first three quarters from Australia were down 11 per cent due to high livestock prices, tight supplies and increased competition from other CPTPP countries, including Canada. U.S. exports to Japan were also up five per cent year-over-year.
There are still a few foodservice restrictions in place affecting demand recovery, but retail remains strong and foodservice is expected to have strengthened in the four quarter.
Exports by primal to Japan YTD
- Chuck cuts at 12,575 tonnes valued at $94.7 million were up 82 per cent in volume and up 70 per cent in value from the same period in 2020. Chuck cuts represent 28 per cent of total exports.
- Offal at 8,373 tonnes valued at $94 million were up 109 per cent in volume and up 107 per cent in value over the same period in 2020. Offals represent 19 per cent of total exports to Japan.
- Flank/plate cuts at 8,187 tonnes valued at $58 million were down three per cent in volume and up 11 per cent in value from the same period in 2020. Flank/plate cuts represent 18 per cent of total exports.
- Ribs cuts at 7,330 tonnes valued at $34 million were up 74 per cent in volume and up 72 per cent in value from the same period in 2020. Rib cuts represent 16 per cent of total exports to Japan.
- Loin cuts at 3,884 tonnes valued at $17.2 million were down 14 per cent in volume and down nine per cent in value from the same period in 2020. Hip cuts represent nine per cent of total exports to Japan.
- Other cuts at 3,681 tonnes valued at $25.2 million were down 29 per cent in volume and down 37 per cent in value from the same period in 2020. Other cuts represent eight per cent of total exports to Japan
- Brisket cuts at 713 tonnes valued at $4 million were up 339 per cent in volume and up 370 per cent in value from the same period in 2020. Brisket cuts represent two per cent of total exports to Japan.
- Hip cuts at 230 tonnes valued at $1.7 million were up 6,176 per cent in volume and up 3,036 per cent in value from the same period in 2020. Hip cuts represent 0.51 per cent of total exports to Japan.