By FWi staff

BEEF consumption is rising and more of it is British, according to figures released yesterday (Thursday) from the Meat and Livestock Commission.

In the first three months of this year, beef consumption climbed to almost 216,000 tonnes, an increase of 7.3% on the same period in 1997. British beef accounted for 79.2% of all beef sold, a year-on-year increase of 6.7%.

The new statistics back results from an MLC survey earlier this year which revealed that nearly 75% of consumers wanted to buy British beef.

“The increase in our market share is encouraging news,” said Bob Bansback, MLC acting head of beef strategy. “However, the continued low cattle price emphasises the importance of recovering our export market as soon as possible.”

Finished cattle prices were actually up slightly at markets across England and Wales this week. Finished steers averaged 87.5p/kg, up 1.5p on the week; and young bulls averaged 90.1p/kg (+2.4p).

On the deadweight market, R4L steers were worth 161.3p/kg; R4L young bulls 158.7p/kg; and R4L heifers 156.6p/kg.