15 January 1999

Red meat sales down

HOUSEHOLD red meat purchases slipped 1% last year compared with 1997 despite significantly lower retail prices, says Taylor Nelson Sofres Superpanel.

In the year to Dec 13, both beef and pork purchases declined by 1%. Until the end of July, beef purchases were 2.5% down on 1997, though better sales in August (+2.8%) and October (+4.9% – mainly due to higher mince sales) improved matters.

Pork also benefited from a buying surge in the second half of the year, thanks to promotions of shoulder roasting joints. The rally was reversed in December, when overall purchases slipped 4%.

Lamb ended the year as 1997, after a buoyant first quarter start was cancelled out by a marked sales downturn during the rest of the year (apart from October when much price discounting rekindled interest).

Lower overall retail prices saw last years household spend on red meat decline in all three sectors. Expenditure on beef fell almost 3%, lamb almost 7% and pork by 10%. But, says the MLCs Duncan Sinclair, the figures do not include processed meat products, which saw strong growth last year, or meat eaten outside the home. &#42