UK retail beef sales report decline
Published:  05 April, 2016

Northern Irish meat processors have suggested demand for beef has been relaxed during much of 2016, with current supplies of prime cattle meeting demand for beef. 

The news comes as part of the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) Northern Ireland’s latest bulletin. According to the industry body, prime cattle throughput for NI during this year has totalled 80,641 head, equating to a 6.5% decrease on the same time period for the year previous.

However, there has been an increase in average carcase weights year-on-year, which has offset some of the decline in throughput. The latest figures, taken from Kantar Worldpanel, refer to the 12-week period ending 28 February 2016.

“During this period, [UK] expenditure on beef totalled £558.7 million, a 1.8% decrease from the corresponding period in 2015, when retail beef sales totalled £568.8m,” claimed the LMC.

In addition, it was reported that the total volume of retail beef sales recorded a decline. At a 2.1% fall, the retail beef market decreased from 71,988 tonnes to 70,507t.

Despite this, the average retail price of beef for the 12-week period ending 28 February 2016 was £7.92/kg, almost the same as the year previous, when the average retail price was £7.90/kg. Furthermore, household penetration also remained similar, with nearly three quarters (74%) of households purchasing beef during the analysed period.

Although the volume of retail beef sales in the UK fell year-on-year, different cuts performed variably.

At 7.2%, roasting joints recorded the biggest fall. Stewing beef declined by 1.1% while mince fell 1.7% from levels the year earlier.

While overall retail sales fell, some products recorded an increase in volume sales. Frying and grilling steaks rose by 2.1% while beef marinades increased 1.6%.

“There was also a mixed performance recorded for processed beef products in terms of retail sales during the 12-week period ending 28 February 2015,” said LMC.

“Volume sales of chilled ready meals containing beef increased by 3.5% while volume sales of burgers, frozen ready meals and frozen pies all recorded notable declines when compared to year-earlier levels.”