UK retail beef sales stagnant over key Christmas period
British retail sales of fresh and frozen beef declined just over 1pc in volume on year earlier levels over the key Christmas period, according to Kantar Worldpanel, largely due to a fall in steak sales.
Christmas week is clearly important for sales of all meats with beef is particularly reliant on the 4 weeks around Christmas, however its reliance on Christmas week in particular, fell this year.
Analysing the figures AHDB Red Meat analyst Rebecca Oborne said beef roasting joints also came under some pressure, although she added that this is part of a longer-term trend of roasting joint sales declining in the UK.
Over the same period, fresh and frozen lamb sales declined 4pc in volume, although shelf price increases meant the value of the market grew by 2pc.
"Declines in roasting joints continue to drive the lower volume with fewer shoppers in the category," Ms Oborne said
"There was an increase in total supplies of beef (2pc or 26,000t) available for consumption in the UK (a rough proxy for demand, including changes in stocks) during 2018.
"This was weighted towards the early part of the year when corresponds with industry reports which indicate that the volume of beef in cold stores was increasing at that time, partly driven by Brexit preparations," she said.
Available supplies of sheep meat available for consumption declined slightly overall (-2pc), with industry reports indicating there is relatively little sheep meat available in frozen stores.
Christmas traditions meant that turkey still dominated the market, capturing just over half of all fresh roasting meat and poultry spend 5 days preceding Christmas day.
According to the AHDB, despite the rise of flexitarians and vegans throughout the year, the meat free category remains relatively small and didn’t recruit any more shoppers this Christmas.
The number of shoppers purchasing meat free options was down 1.6pc, with Christmas proving to be an important time for meats.
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