July 14, 2008
UK beef demand falling, consumers switching to cheaper cuts



A gloomy economic outlook and rising prices have depressed beef demand in the UK, according to a household consumption survey conducted by the market researchers Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS).


The survey reports a 4-percent decrease in demand for beef for the 12-week period ending 15 June 2008, compared to the equivalent period in 2007.


The number of households purchasing beef fell 1 percent and the average volume of beef purchased fell by 3 percent.


Despite the slide in demand, revenues were up due to higher prices.


Total expenditure on beef increased by 3 percent to GBP 368 million for the 12 week period, due to a 7-percent rise in the average retail price.


Demand for stewing and minced beef increased by 18 and 8 per cent respectively compared to the same period in 2007, but the volume of steaks and roasts dropped by 13 and 24 percent.


The findings confirm beliefs that consumers were "trading down" to settle for cheaper cuts of beef due to a slowing economy.


While the average retail price has risen by 7 percent, the average farmgate price has increased by 33 percent, making conditions for processors more challenging.

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