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Stackyard News Apr 09

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Retail Trends Underline Beef Market Stability

Minced beef sales have continued to grow over the past year with stewing beef demand also strengthening somewhat and overall domestic beef consumption remaining remarkably robust despite the recession, according to the latest retail trend analyses from EBLEX, the industry body for beef and lamb levy payers.

Sales of beef mince have increased by around 5% in the year

beef mince

Current retail figures show GB beef sales of just under 300,000 tonnes in the 52 weeks to the end of February. While down on the record of nearly 307,000 tonnes recorded in 2008, sales remain well up on previous years, underlining the continuing stability of consumer demand.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, sales of beef mince have increased by around 5% in the year to almost half of annual consumption as consumers increasingly appreciate its versatility as well as value. This leaves annual mince sales more than 20% up on their 2003 level. Stewing beef sales have also increased slightly over the past year to 14% of the retail total.

After a brief renaissance in 2007, both frying and grilling steak and roasting sales have returned to their longer term downward trend. Frying and grilling beef is now just under 15% of total sales and roasting beef has fallen back noticeably to around 21% of consumption (compared to 28% in 2003) due as much to the reduced frequency of formal meal occasions in most British households as to current pressures on income. The continued decline in national prime beef supplies may, however, help offset any further reduction in hindquarter demand.

Despite the present exchange rate, forequarter imports from Ireland are said to represent good value for money at a time when retail beef price growth is expected to be higher than other competitive meats. This price growth may put downward pressure on overall sales but the market trends bode particularly well for cull cow and dairy-bred beef bull demand.

GB Retail Beef Sales 2003-2009 (Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board)
beef sales

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