Mince price rise fails to dampen sales

Fears that consumers are turning away from mince following recent price rises have been refuted by the latest sales data.

Reports in the Daily Mail claimed a recent jump in beef mince prices by up to 25% was pushing family favourites, such as spaghetti bolognese, off the menu.

The paper said mince, which had now broken the £1 barrier for a pack in retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons, was now proving too expensive for families.

According to figures from The Grocer magazine, Sainsbury’s has increased the price of a 400g pack of basics mince by 25%, to £1.20, Tesco has pushed up the price of a 500g pack of its own-label value mince by 25%, to £1.50, and Morrisons has also increased on an 800g pack of its budget mince, by 24.5%, to £2.39.

However, recent data from Kantar Worldpanel flies in the face of claims consumer demand has dampened, with beef mince volumes up 2.4% in most recent 52-week data.

Peter Hardwick, head of trade development for Eblex, said: “The picture painted here doesn’t tally with our own data or the research we have done on the price elasticity of mince.

“Latest Kantar Worldpanel data for the 52 weeks to 7 August show that overall beef mince sales are up 2.4%. Most of the major multiples have seen a rise in sales of beef mince, with Waitrose up 18.8%. If you just look at the four weeks to 7 August, there has been a 0.6% rise in mince sales, with Waitrose up 38.4% and Sainsbury’s 5.4%. In the 12 weeks to 7 August, GB beef mince sales are up 8.7%, and up 2.4% in the four-week analysis to 7 August.

“Our own modelling shows that of all beef products, demand for mince is most resistant to price change. It is a staple of many recipes and still remains relatively cheap. Any upward change in price being seen on the shelves of the major multiples is just a reflection of market forces in terms of rising costs of production and relative availability. It is fair to say that most meat proteins are seeing a general upward trend in price, so beef mince remains an attractive purchase relative to other meats.

“The other way of looking at this is what the price increases quoted might looks like per portion – possibly not more than about 5p – so perhaps not enough to significantly hit sales.”