By FWi staff

LAMB, beef and pork are no longer on the top of shoppers lists, according to first quarter results of MAFFs National Food Survey.

Lamb has suffered the most, down 20% on last year to its lowest first-quarter level on record.

But its sudden lack of favour with consumers might be a result of foot-and-mouth disrupting supplies as much as consumers not buying.

Producers are still suffering poor prices, though. This weeks average farmgate price for R3L grade new-season lambs averaged 210p-225p/kg.

Peter Crichton, of Hill Farm Sheep, said: “They are a fraction easier on the week.

“Theres a two-tier trade with lambs in dirty areas (foot-and-mouth restricted zones) trading at 180-190p/kg.”

Other meats have been affected by lower retail sales as well: Pork also fell to its lowest level, recording a first quarter drop on sales compared with last year of 15%.

Pig meat producers will be happier this week though, as prices have improved in recent weeks.

The average UK deadweight pig price for the week ending 09 June was nearly 99p/kg, over a 1p up on the week before.

Beef consumption also dropped by 10% in the first quarter of 2001 compared with last year, according to the NFS.

In its latest UK Market Survey, the MLC says that beef consumption is up compared with the first quarter of 1999 and the two years before that.

Further good news for producers is that cattle prices levelled in England and Wales at 167p/kg for R4L grade steers, up nearly 5p/kg on the week.

Scottish prices held firm at just under 184p/kg for the same grade animal.

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