GIRA forecasts ongoing high prices for beef

With beef bearing the brunt of rising global meat costs, a mince price hike is inevitable and will prevail over retailer resistance, according to food and drink consultancy GIRA.

High global prices are set to continue across species, due to the "fundamentals of rising demand and non-infinite supply", said GIRA's Richard Brown during a presentation on long-term world meat market trends in Belfast recently.

Forecasting a continued rise in cattle prices over the next decade, Brown said beef would become more expensive, accelerating the recession-driven shift from commodity to 'special occasion' usage. The long-term trend would even elevate the price of mince, which has enjoyed a lift, driven by heavy promotional activity during the recession.

Pigmeat and farmed fish were identified by Brown as offering greatest scope for production gains to meet rising global demand for protein. GIRA forecast global meat consumption would rise by 14% over 2010-2020 to reach 322.3 million tonnes (mt), including 121.1mt of poultry, 119.4mt of pigmeat, 64.5mt of beef and 17.3mt of sheepmeat.

Looking at production and export/imports prospects, GIRA expects that the EU will maintain its current volume of pigmeat exports, but its share will diminish, while a plateau will be reached in sheep-meat production.

"Grain prices have been too low and will have to go up," said Brown, attributing the claim to rising input costs alongside limited production prospects in many countries. This is due to a variety of factors, ranging from lack of profitability to drought, restricted market access and farmers moving into other sectors such as dairy in New Zealand and bioethanol production in Brazil.

l GIRA's presentation, Long Term Strategic Trends in World Meat Markets 2010-2015-2020, was held at Invest NI's Belfast headquarters.