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UK Supermarkets Should Adopt US Retail Attitudes

23 September 2010

UK - The National Beef Association wants the UK’s multiple retailers, and the cattle processors who supply them, to compare their off-handed approach to increasing the value of the beef carcase with an admirable, all-industry effort, similar to what is taking place in the United States.

In the USA, processors, scientists, farmers, and retailers work together, through joint-funding, to make beef cattle more valuable by searching out new cuts from the consistently undervalued forequarter and identifying ways of offering them as high value roasts and steaks.

In contrast, some British based multiple retailers appear content to sell the greatest proportion of quality beef as mince and in so doing is condemning the entire sector to artificially reduced earnings – and the threat of ultimate economic oblivion as well.

“Supermarket addiction to retailing mince at a miserable £3.70 a kilo, and their inexplicable determination not to sell more innovative beef cuts and joints at higher values per kilo, is suicidal because every time more beef is dropped into the grinder the entire industry loses more money,” emphasises NBA chairman, Oisin Murnion.

“We are talking here about beef sector survival so the multiple’s red meat specialists have to be jolted out of their inactivity so everyone else in the supply chain can stay in business.”

In the UK around 50 per cent of retail quality beef is sold as mince – a process in which different sections of the carcase are ground down to be offered at a bargain basement price, which is a tragic waste of top quality suckler beef.

However beef sector specialists in the US succeeded two years ago in creating new cuts out of beef that would otherwise have been minced and after these were successfully introduced as steaks at retail level the value of beef cattle was lifted by at least £40 a head.

“We want the UK industry to take the same united approach and add value to beef instead of reducing it. Earlier this month US researchers announced their success in identifying another six, previously undiscovered, tender muscles from the forequarter and then spelled out how they could be best presented to consumers as steaks and roasts instead of cheap mince,” said Mr Murnion.

“The entire US industry is excited at this development but in the UK’s current beef trading climate the discovery would be greeted with a yawn. The attitude of British supermarkets must change. Cheap mince cannot be produced in shelf breaking volumes just to be used as a discount lure to pull in customers from other retailer’s stores because the business future of both processors and farmers is endangered by the result.”

TheCattleSite News Desk


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