Changes in consumer habits reinforced by retail sales figures

The latest Market Bulletin produced by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) shows that changing consumer preferences is a major contributory factor in purchasing patterns for fresh red meat.

For the 12 week period ending 22 May 2016, Kantar Worldpanel data shows that GB volume sales of fresh beef increased by 2.3% compared to the same period in 2015, while the overall average price declined as total spend decreased.

The same period saw some exceptions to this pattern. Volumes of fresh frying/grilling beef purchased at retailers increased by 2.4%, despite an increase in the average price of the product. However, sales of roasting beef declined whilst the average price also fell.

“It is no surprise that people are spending more on cheaper fresh red meat cuts,” said John Richards, HCC’s Industry Information Executive. “Furthermore, it isn’t a shock that consumers are willing to spend more money on cuts that can be cooked in minutes, as people are opting for quicker meal solutions due to busy lifestyles and time restrictions.

“This, together with its versatility, explains why beef mince continues to hold the largest share of the market for both volume and spend.”

Lamb sales during this period saw a volume decrease of 4.5% and a marginal decrease in spend when compared to the same period in 2015. The main contributory factor for this was a 4.4% increase in average price which stood at £7.83/kg. 

As with beef, not all cuts followed the same pattern. The volume of lamb chops/steaks sold increased by nearly 5% and the average price of the product fell by 6%. The pattern for leg roasting joints was the opposite; retailers saw an increase in spend and a decrease in volume sold. 

Mr Richards added: “The data presented in the Market Bulletin shows how economic and lifestyle changes influence purchasing and eating habits. It is important that the red meat sector responds and is able to cater for the market.”

HCC’s Market Bulletin also includes information on changes seen in prices in Welsh markets in the wake of instability in the value of the pound over the past three weeks.