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British Shoppers Bring Retail Boom for Red Meat

The last year has been a time in which many of us have picked up new hobbies and interests. With many people using the time to improve their cooking skills, it seems that the British public has definitely not lost its taste for a hearty cooked dinner. Consumers across Britain spent a significant total of £4.1 billion on beef, lamb and pork in the last 12 months, according to the latest data released by Kantar, the consumer-insight experts.

Covering the 52 weeks up to 16th May 2021, there was an increase of 12.6% when compared to the previous year. The total volume sold during that same time also surged by 9.4%, reaching 565,100 tonnes. This new information reflects the huge demand for locally-sourced beef, lamb and pork as the Covid-19 pandemic brought the country to a standstill. This increase in sales reflects the growth in home cooked meals as the food sector was forced to shut. With this increase in home cooking grew an increased interest in sourcing quality, local produce so that people could still treat themselves to great tasting meat at home. Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) has seen a rise in sales in the volume of beef steaks as customers try to replicate their favourite recipes, but also in products like Welsh Lamb as the Christmas turkey was switched out for local produce. Sales of lamb in particular were substantial, with over half of GB consumers buying lamb during this period. HCC’s data analyst, Glesni Phillips added: “Almost 54% of Britain’s total population chose to buy lamb during the 12 months, which also saw an increase in the number of buyers. They were up 3.8% which is more than the rise in beef and pork buyers, despite the price of lamb at retail increasing the most to an average of £10.14 per kg.” One of the main factors behind the increase in total spend was a rise in the frequency of which shoppers bought lamb, with all lamb cuts at retail experiencing strong sales. This was also the case for beef, with more expensive cuts such as steaks and roasting joints in great demand. Pork was also extremely popular with purchases made by 71% of the population. The largest factor behind the additional spend was the 8.7% rise in frequency of purchases, with a large demand for pork loin roasting joints.

Another cause for this boom in British meat is the tight supply in global and domestic markets. This led to a lower production of lambs and prime cattle and strong market prices for producers. Trading patterns have further been disrupted by Covid and Brexit. Export and import volumes for beef, lamb and pork have been lower than usual due to Brexit uncertainty in 2020, weaker demand from the foodservice sector in the domestic and overseas markets and unique issues such as pre-Brexit stockpiling. Phillips said: “Covid restrictions did not prevent the sales of red meat. In fact, we saw a rapid rise in its popularity, which continued even after the initial period of panic buying at the start of the pandemic."

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