Meat industry experiencing ‘major disruption’ with outlets closing down

The meat industry in Ireland is experiencing “major disruption to normal trading conditions”, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has warned.

MII, which represents the meat processing sector in Ireland, said that food service outlets across Europe – including restaurants, quick service restaurants, caterers and so on – are closing down because of restrictions related to Covid-19.

MII highlighted that the food service channel accounts for over 30% of Irish beef exports, while also being an important market for other meat products from Ireland.

However, this market has “effectively been shut down”, with orders ceasing, MII said.

“While retail demand spiked for a short period (mainly for mince and diced products as opposed to steaks), there are signs that this is normalising now, as bulk buying by consumers eases,” the processor body pointed out.

A MII statement added: “For beef in particular, the loss of food service outlets is creating a major imbalance as food service traditionally takes a far greater proportion of Ireland’s steak cuts, which account for a high share of the overall market return.

“This level of market disruption is unsustainable and support measures from the EU will be urgently needed,” the statement added.

The MII statement comes after two fast-food outlets decided to close their doors temporarily.

First, yesterday, Sunday, March 22, McDonald’s announced that it would be closing all its outlets across Ireland and the UK, effective today, Monday.

In a statement on its Irish website, outlining its decision to close due to Covid-19, the multi-national fast-food giant said: “We have taken the difficult decision to close all McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and Ireland by 7:00pm on Monday, March 23, at the latest.”

And earlier today, Supermac’s announced that it will close all of its outlets across the country by this Thursday, March 26, at 7:00pm.

The “phased” closure is to allow emergency services using the outlets (for food) to make alternative arrangements.

Also, any seating areas in Supermac’s lobbies that are still open will close from tonight, Monday, March 23, and remain closed.