EU beef production to decrease in 2023

Compared with other types of meats, beef is also more expensive, so consumers will likely be looking for cheaper animal proteins in a context of high food inflation, the Commission has said.

EU beef production is forecast to fall by 1.6% in 2023, continuing its downward trend from 2022.

The European Commission’s short-term outlook states that while production is to fall, average carcase weights might increase.

This would be as a result of a potential relaxation in feed costs and assuming improved grass quality compared with 2022.

The increased carcase weights would not counterbalance the drop in numbers, it added.

In 2022, EU beef production decreased by 2.6% with drops in production in Germany (8%), France (4.4%) and Poland (2.6%). Irish beef production increased by 4.5% last year.

The December 2022 livestock survey shows that the number of suckler cows in the EU declined for a third year in a row, falling by 240,000 head (2.3%).

“At the same time, the decline of dairy cows was lower than expected (-0.6%), which prevented even further production drop.

“The number of male bovine cattle for slaughtering between one and two years also decreased (-2.2%) and this will have implications for beef availability this year,” it added.

Beef exports

As the beef supply in the EU is lower, prices may stay high and this could potentially have a negative impact on EU consumption and the competitiveness of EU exports, the outlook warns.

However, the supply also remains low globally, while the demand is high, which could help shipments from the EU to remain stable in 2023 despite higher prices.

On the other hand, it states that the current price environment could attract more imports into the EU.

Imports could further grow by 5% and so add to a 25% increase in imports observed last year, in particular from the UK, but also from South America.

Such an increase would rebalance the temporary drop due to the impacts sustained from Brexit and

COVID-19, it added.

“This is expected, even though Asian markets (especially China) could be a more attractive destination for American [beef], while the UK flows could get to comparable pre-COVID levels.

“At the same time, EU live exports could decline, but at a lower rate than last year (-2%),” it added.


The apparent EU beef consumption per person is expected to follow a long-term declining trend and could stay slightly below 10kg in 2023, a decline of 1.7% on 2022.

“Compared to other types of meats, beef is also more expensive, and so consumers will likely be looking for cheaper animal proteins in a context of high food inflation,” it added.