Price of corned beef soars

The price of corned beef has soared by around 60% in the last six months – with producers struggling with a shortage of beef and increasing costs.

A case of corned beef supplied by the Brazilian processor and distributor Marfrig has risen from £50.40 to £81 since last August.

The category – once a value favourite – has been hit by rising grain prices and a tightening in the worldwide supply of beef.

However, it is also thought that changing dynamics in the South American market have aided the constriction in supply. As a result, prices have been rocketing since December.

Daniel Bracegirdle, Sainsbury’s cooked meat buyer, said: “We haven’t recovered anything like the increased cost that we are now paying our suppliers for the customer.

“The surprising thing is that demand has held up. We were expecting a fall in volume as the price went up, but it didn’t. People who like corned beef, like corned beef.”

Although retailers have been reluctant to pass prices on to the consumer, the effect is already being seen on the high street, with product prices up by 20%. It is understood that smaller wholesaler business has dropped off and many of the retailers have reduced stock on the shelf.

Alan Davies, customer relations manager of Stephens Fresh Foods, added the price of a wholesale pallet increased by 30% to 40% last December.