Farm Ireland

Saturday 25 November 2017

French consumers paying €1.50/kg more for home-produced lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb
Roast Leg of Lamb
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The last two years has seen consumers in France switching to home-produced lamb at the expense of imported product, according to an analysis by the AHDB in the UK.

It says this development has been influenced by what it calls the 'renationalisation' of French consumers and the fact that the retail sector has also committed to increased domestic sourcing.

"The 2015 protests by French farmers over imported food have contributed to this," it said.

However, the AHDB also cites that the long-term decline in consumption has continued, it has averaged 3pc per annum during the current decade.

"Lamb continues to suffer from its high price relative to other mainstream meats, that it is not widely consumed by younger age groups, and the ongoing difficult economic situation," it said.

France imported some 16,000t of lamb from Ireland last year down substantially from the heady days of the mid-noughties when the French market took well over 30,000t annually.

The switch to the preference for domestic lamb has been helped by some stability in French production in the last three years, the AHDB analysis notes. It had previously been in long-term decline.

Production has been edging up since 2014, and, in 2016, data for January-November indicates a rise of 3pc in both lamb and total sheep meat production.

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The proportion of home-produced sheep meat consumed had been stable at 42pc in the 2012 to 2014 period, but it has risen to an estimated 47pc in 2016.

“As a result, the gap between consumption of imported lamb over domestic product has been narrowing.”

There are also indications that the price premium for home-produced lamb over imported lamb has widened.

According to the AHDB, based on wholesale prices for grade R carcases at Rungis market, the premium averaged €0.80 per kg in the year 2014 but by 2016 it had increased to €1.50.

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