Lamb sales in the UK have been down on 2013 levels for much of the year so far according to EBLEX.

Citing latest Kantar WordPanel figures EBLEX says in the 12-week period to November 9, UK consumers bought 12% less lamb than in the same period a year earlier.

EBLEX says lower supplies of cheaper New Zealand product this year have had an impact on retail prices and, in turn, consumer demand, with three of the big four UK multiples experiencing a significant drop in the amount of lamb sold.

It also says the key driver of the latest results was lower purchases of roasting joints, following a strong performance in the autumn period last year.

Looking towards the Christmas season, EBLEX says pork was the only meat to record a growth in volume sales in the UK last year.

It says sales of lamb fell by over 5%, although an increase in the average price did support a small increase in expenditure.

According to recent forecasts from Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), spending on food and groceries is expected to increase by just over 1% this year.

EBLEX says lower food price inflation in recent months, coupled with promotional activity by leading retailers, has put some downward pressure on prices.

However, on a more positive note, it also says a recent survey indicated that meat and poultry could benefit from an increase in consumer spending over the Christmas season, with 12% of shoppers surveyed by IGD saying they intended to spend more on meat and poultry this Christmas.