17 November 1995

FRENCH WILL TAKE MORE CULL COWS

AN opportunity exists for increasing UK cull cow exports to France, according to Remi Fourrier, British Meats French director.

Of all the beef eaten in France, nearly 80% is cow beef, despite comprising only a third of total production, he says.

UK businesses are already exploiting the market for exports which has increased by 21,400t to 88,400t since 1990.

"French butchers have the reputation of selling good quality beef, but this is now too expensive compared to the cow beef available in supermarkets," says Mr Fourrier. These larger stores handle 75% of beef sold in France.

He advises exporters ensure their stock meets the required specifications. French consumers demand red meat, which is not too fat. Processors insist cuts are consistent and carcasses should not exceed 350kg for commercial outlets. Restrictions on bone-in carcasses still remain a drawback, although beef consultant Dr David Allen is optimistic this ban would be lifted in the near future if BSE cases continued their downward curve.

Mr Fourrier believes there is more dramatic changes in the pipeline. Statistics show consumers would eat more burgers – McDonalds is due to expand rapidly throughout the country – but the standard menu of steak frites would remain popular.

"There needs to be a good link between importers, hauliers and producers so that carcass identity is not lost and the business remains sustainable," he said. &#42


French beef production compared with UK

FranceUK

32%cows19%

7%steers42%

13%heifers27%

19%veal0%

30%young bulls12%

Remi Fourrier: "Quality beef is too expensive compared with cow beef."