Beef was the only red meat to record an overall year-on year increase in volume sales in the UK in the November-January period, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel.

Analysing the data EBLEX says beef sales have been supported by consumer switching, with gains made from fresh pork and chicken in particular.

It says the data shows that volume sales improved across all categories but sales of roasting joints showed the largest year-on year increase.

According to EBLEX this uplift was spread out among the major four retailers in the UK, while the hard discounters recorded a fall in volume sales.

It says the big four retailers were particularly price competitive in this category over the three month period, with promotional activity driving a fall in the average retail price.

EBELX says average prices for roasting joints fell by 8% compared with a year earlier accroding to the latest Kantar data.

It says this resulted in an overall reduction in the amount of consumer spending on the category despite the increased volumes.

Despite the data also showing a drop in the amount of mince sold on promotion, EBLEX says cuts to base prices across many retailers resulted in lower year-on-year average prices.

This prevented any increase in consumer spend on mince over the period, it says.

The UK is by far the largest market for Irish beef, with shipments to the UK in 2014 well ahead of year earlier levels. In the year as a whole, shipments to the UK were up 7%, or 11,000 tonnes, to 170,000 tonnes.