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Strong Beef Demand In November

06 January 2011

NORTHERN IRELAND - The NI Beef market got a boost last November, with retail beef demand in GB(our biggest market) much higher that previous year levels.

However, demand for lamb continues to languish with retail prices remaining high.

Retail beef demand normally rises sharply during the final few months of the year in GB with the worsening weather and advance Christmas demand being key factors.

However, in November 2010, demand was higher than previous years and the big positive for beef producers was that this increased demand was achieved without any reduction in average retail beef prices compared to previous years (see Figure 1).

In November 2010, retail beef sales reached almost 27,000 tonnes, five per cent more than during the same period in the previous year (see Figure 2).

As a result, beef expenditure reached £161m in November, also five per cent higher than during November 2009 (see Figure 3).

Sales volumes and expenditure were also much higher than October 2010 levels.

The improved year-on-year sales in November also mark an improvement compared to the longer term trend.

In the 12 weeks ending 28 November 2010, retail sales volumes of beef were only two per cent higher compared to the equivalent period in 2009, with beef expenditure around three per cent higher than previous year levels.

November sales were boosted in particular by a sharp increase in sales of stewing beef, mince and frying / grilling product. Roasting was the only beef product that came under pressure in November with sales down by 11 per cent.

Stewing beef volumes were 16 per cent higher than November 2009 levels and this may have reflected the increasingly cold weather during November 2010.

Readers may remember that in the cold snap last January, stewing sales rocketed and the latest demand figures suggest that a similar trend may be developing this winter.

The figures also show that while individual consumers are not buying greater volumes on their average shopping trip, buyers are becoming more likely to include beef on their shopping lists.

Penetration (the proportion of retail sales that included beef) was up by four per cent year-on-year.

However, the average amount purchased by consumers on a single shopping trip (average weight per purchase) in November 2010 was similar to November 2009 levels.

Figure 1: GB Retail Price of Beef 2007 - 2010 (Four Weekly Periods)

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

Figure 2: GB Volume Demand For Beef 2007 - 2010 (Four Weekly Periods

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

Figure 3: GB Consumer Expenditure on Beef 2007 - 2010 (Four Weekly Periods

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

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