Meat retail sales report published

Meat retail sales, worth £7 billion a year, have been analysed in a new report being published by the NFU.

The Meat and Livestock Commission has issued the Supermarket Meat Retailing report, on behalf of the NFU, to look at key areas of the livestock industry and its place within the retail sector. In the report results have revealed:

? There is clear evidence that consumers' interest in, and demand for, origin labelling on meat products is undiminished and, if anything, is growing

· together, the top four supermarkets account for around a 76% share of retail grocery sales.

· fresh and chilled food is more important in sales value than ambient and frozen put together, and meat is an important part of retailers' offer.

NFU President Peter Kendall will open discussions at the launch. Speaking before the event he said: "This is a comprehensive and objective report into the current start of meat retailing, as evidenced by our major supermarkets chains, which I hope will encourage debate about the future of British livestock farming.

"Rising feed costs are putting intense pressure on sectors of the industry, and are being compounded by higher regulatory costs, all too often associated with measures of no practical benefit. There are plenty of challenges for livestock producers on the supply side of the industry and I hope this report will lead to stronger linkages being forged between our major retailers and the farming community who supplies their raw material."

Food labelling is one key area highlighted in the report for consumers. It states labelling is improving, but with 74% of consumers saying they want to see origin of country clearly marked on the pack, the report also acknowledges more needs to be done, especially for processed meat.

Other key elements, such as pricing, are covered in the report, with the short-term nature of supermarket strategies and fierce competition blamed for stopping increased farmgate value entering the supply chain. The report calls for a brave retailer to lead the market and push the price at farm gate upwards.