- news, features, articles and disease information for the beef industry

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

30 June 2014

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 27 June 2014EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 27 June 2014

Adequate supplies still impacting trade

In week ended 21 June 2014, the GB all prime deadweight price was back a further 3p on the week to average 324.8p/kg. Adequate domestic supplies and increased Irish volumes continue to meet subdued retail demand, resulting in this sustained downwards pressure on price. Reports suggest that the price pressure in the latest week has been felt more significantly at the top end of the market. In a change to the longer term position, this could indicate that some stability may be creeping into the trade in other areas. While the overall trend for the R4L steer average in the latest week is still downwards, in the southern region and in Scotland, prices levelled. Meanwhile, in the central and northern regions prices came back 6p on the previous week. With the prospect of fewer cattle coming forward throughout the summer, much will now depend on developments in demand. A small upturn, either driven by weather conditions or promotional activity, could go some way in stalling the sustained pressure on the market.

Spending on beef still robust

In the March to May period, household spending on beef was up 2% on the year, according to latest data from Kantar Worldpanel. Expenditure growth was entirely driven by an increase in retail beef prices. Despite this, increases in beef prices are showing some signs of easing. There was no increase in May, compared with a year ago and they were down against the previous month. Despite household purchases being back 4% in the 12-week period, they have demonstrated some recovery in May, being up 3% up against last year.

The fall in beef purchases was driven by reduced sales of both stewing and roasting beef. The decline in roasting beef sales was due to both a drop in the percentage of households buying this cut and those that were still buying purchasing less. Both stewing and roasting beef suffered as shoppers switched to buying minced beef. Sales of frying/grilling beef performed best in the 12-week period, growing by 3% and boosted by a warmer than average May; sales were up 9% in the latest 4 weeks. Whilst volume purchases of mince were flat during March-May, sales performed strongly in May, with growth matching that of frying/grilling beef at 9%. The growth in beef mince sales was driven by increased purchases at the discounters, particularly Lidl, where performance was boosted by its weekend promotions, which offered mince at £1 for 500g.

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