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Increased Expenditure on Beef

26 June 2013

UK - The trade for prime cattle has shown steady improvement since the beginning of the year with increased consumer demand for fresh beef in response to the horse-meat situation being one driving factor, write analysts at the Livestock and Meat Commission Northern Ireland.

The latest data from Kantar on GB retail sales of fresh and frozen meat have indicated a six per cent increase in the value of beef sales in the twelve week period ending 12 May 2013 when compared to the corresponding period last year.

Figure 1 outlines expenditure on beef in GB from January 2011 to May 2013. This increase in expenditure has been driven by a seven per cent increase in volume sales of beef stewing pieces, with sales of beef mince and beef frying/grilling steaks also showing some growth, up by one per cent year on year. Figure 2 displays total volume sales of beef in GB since January 2011.

Volume sales of beef roasting joints were down two per cent between the two periods which may be an indication that consumers are opting for cheaper cuts of beef or switching to lamb. The average retail price of beef in the 12 weeks ending the 12 May 2013 was £7.19p/kg, a four per cent increase in price on the 2012 period. Sales of beef roasting joints were up by one per cent in the12 week period ending 12 May.

Beef sales have however slowed over the four weeks ending 12 May 2013 with total expenditure back one per cent on the same period in 2012. The volume of beef sales in GB has declined by five per cent year on year, driven primarily by the drop in sales of beef roasting joints which were back 14.6 per cent on the corresponding period in 2012.

Sales of beef stewing steak have also shown significant declines during the four weeks ending 12 May 2013, back 12 per cent on the same period in 2012. Total volume sales of beef accounted for 47.9 per cent of red meat sales during this period, back slightly from 48.8 per cent of sales on the same period in 2012.

Volume sales of pork and lamb have both increased when comparing the two periods. However sales of beef burgers and grills have enjoyed an improvement in sales over the four week period ending 12 May 2013 with sales almost doubling on the previous four weeks and eight per cent higher than the corresponding period in 2012.

This is likely to be a result of the improved weather in recent weeks and an increased opportunity for barbeques. Sales of processed beef meals have continued to decline with sales of chilled and frozen ready meals back 23 per cent and 20 per cent respectively over the 12 week period ending the 12 May 2013. Consumers are continuing to purchase fresh meat and poultry instead.

Household penetration during the 12 week period ending 12 May 2013 was similar to the corresponding period in 2012 with 71 per cent of households purchasing beef. Between the same
two periods however there was a ten per cent increase in the number of households buying lamb as it continues to perform strongly (See article below).

For the 52 week period ending 12 May 2013 sales of beef have shown a decline of two per cent on the previous year. Fresh and frozen poultry continue to perform strongly with a three per cent increase in volume sales during the same period. The strongest performer however has been lamb which has shown a 16 per cent increase in volume sales year on year.

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