Beef sales rise as shoppers opt to eat in

By Jerome Smail

- Last updated on GMT

High profile marketing campaigns and the pandemic have helped boost beef sales
High profile marketing campaigns and the pandemic have helped boost beef sales

Related tags: Meat & Seafood, Finance

British consumer spending on beef totalled £551m in the 12 weeks to 1 November 2020, according to figures from research organisation Kantar Worldpanel.

The latest figure represents a rise of 12.6% on the same period in 2019.

The data also suggests shoppers’ recent choices are increasing profitability for the beef industry in terms of the selection of cut as well as the volume of sales, possibly as a result of increased home cooking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first ten months of 2020, British retailers sold 14.6% more beef than last year in terms of volume, with sales of premium cuts such as steaks up by 18.5%.

Mince sales

According to Kantar Worldpanel's research for 2019, 53.1% of beef bought by retail consumers in Britain was in the form of mince. This figure rose to around 58% during the panic-buying period in March 2020, but the most recent data shows a fall to 51.9%.

Currently, average prices for prime cattle at market are above the five-year average.

The rise in consumer beef sales during the COVID-19 pandemic has coincided with marketing campaigns by organisations such as Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) in response to the closure of restaurants and hotels due to government-imposed restrictions. The HCC campaign, for example, focused on persuading shoppers to try cooking restaurant meals at home in an effort to help stabilise the market.

Reassuring data

HCC data analyst Glesni Phillips said: “It’s reassuring to see beef performing extremely well in the GB retail sector, as foodservice and hospitality continue to be hit by COVID-19 restrictions. This is an important driver of the current strong prices farmers are receiving.”

He added: “The statistics on mince are noteworthy. Selling over half the total volume of beef at relatively low prices as mince has impacted the profitability of the sector during recent years. The challenge now will be retaining the new customers who have been more adventurous in their home cooking in recent months.

“HCC is intensifying its campaign to promote PGI Welsh beef in the run-up to Christmas, prioritising the GB retail market as the outlook for exports to Europe and the foodservice trade in general remains uncertain.”

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood, COVID-19

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