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Meat still on the menu despite economic squeeze

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Meat is still on the menu for most Brits, according to Kantar. Image: Getty, 97
Meat is still on the menu for most Brits, according to Kantar. Image: Getty, 97

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British consumers are still stocking up on red meat despite economic pressures, with enjoyment a key driver behind continued sales, according to Kantar.

About 97% of households are still buying red meat despite the pressures on the family purse, while 85% of all red meat was consumed ‘for enjoyment’ and that this was the motivating force behind sustained sales.

Avneet Chana, Kantar’s strategic insight director and head of its meat, fish and poultry team, said: “One thing that does come up in every piece of research that we do is that we do things because we enjoy them – and we won’t eat something if we don’t like the taste of it – and red meat ranks really high on consumption for enjoyment.”

Kantar found that about 28,000 UK households stopped buying red meat in 2023, which Chana compared to a ‘small drop in the bucket’ considering there are more than 60 million people in the UK.

Price and volume increase

Red meat had increased in price by 11.5% in 2023, which also saw spend increase by 8.9% but volume reduce by 2.4%. Categories increasing in sales included pork ribs (up 9.5%), mince (up 3.1%) and sausages (up 2.2%).

“To contextualise the price increase, let’s compare it to dairy, for instance, with an increase of 20.8%; meat-free, at around the same (10.4%); and fresh produce at 8.5%,”​ Chana added.

Kantar’s continuous survey covers some 30,000 UK homes that includes a consumer base that is demographically representative in terms of age, lifestyle and region.

“With our survey we were able to get a picture of what people are doing, their shopping trends and how they felt about the economy and whether they were struggling, managing or comfortable,”​ Chana continued.

‘Landmark moment’

“We saw more and more say they were struggling and less felt they were comfortable and naturally that had impacts on behaviour. However, there is now some evidence that behaviour is starting to level off a bit. For the first time in a year, inflation is coming down and that is a landmark moment.”

Chana revealed the results of Kantar’s research at Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales’s (HCC) conference back near the end of last year.

HCC’s head of strategic marketing and connections Laura Pickup said the very high figure commended the hard work of Welsh farmers. It also confirmed the findings of HCC’s Red Meat Development Programme consumer taste trials and validated the extensive work carried out on the Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef brands in recent years.

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