Retail beef sales on the slide in Ireland’s biggest market

Retail beef sales in the UK, Ireland’s largest beef export market, fell over the last three months in 2015.

Citing data from the latest report from Kantar Worldpanel the Livestock and Meat Commission in Northern Ireland says there was a decline in the value of UK retail beef sales to £540m in the 12 weeks ending January 3, 2016.

This is a 2.8% decline from the same period in 2015 when expenditure on beef in the UK totalled £556m.

According to the LMC. the decline in total expenditure has occurred despite the average retail price remaining fairly steady at £7.85/kg over the period.

In the corresponding period in 2015 the average retail price was £7.88/kg.

The LMC says reports have indicated that there has been a decline in the volume of beef sold on promotion between the 2015 and 2016 periods and this has been a key factor behind the slight decrease in the average retail price.

Volumes

Coinciding with the slight decrease in the average retail price has been a decline in volume sales year-on-year. According to the LMC, in the 2015 period volume sales of beef totalled 70,486t and this declined to 68,794t in the 12 weeks ending January 3, 2016.

It says this represents a 2.4% decline in volume sales between the two periods and may be a consequence of the mild and wet weather conditions in the last quarter of 2015.

The latest Kantar data has indicated that there have been declines in the volume sales of the majority of individual cuts.

The biggest decline in volume sales was for stewing beef which recorded a 7% decline during the period when compared to the same three months in 2015.

Meanwhile, the LMC says volume sales of roasting joints were back by 3%, mince by 1.6% and frying/grilling steaks back by 1.5% year-on-year.

According to the latest Kantar data the only beef cut to record an increase in volume sales in the UK during the last three months was beef marinades with volume sales 5.4% higher year on year.