22 May 1998

Red meat sales will rise – MLC

RED meat sales are set to rocket this year, but livestock producers will see a drop in returns, because much of the meat sold in the UK will continue to come from abroad.

The latest forecast from the Meat and Livestock Commission suggests that red meat consumption in 1998 will exceed 2.1m tonnes, its highest level since 1992. But during the same period, farmers have seen the average price for cattle, sheep and pigs drop in real terms by more than 25%.

"There have been many pundits and commentators talking about the British consumer switching away from beef," said MLC economist Bob Bansback at the London conference.

"But the reality is that total meat consumption is now significantly higher than it was 10 years ago."

The increase in consumption has largely been met by increased imports, especially in the beef sector, Mr Bansback added. Imported beef had a 15% market share in 1994 but last year this rose to 27%, due mainly to the strength of the £, which sucked in cheaper supplies from abroad.

RED meat sales are set to rocket this year, but livestock producers will see a drop in returns, because much of the meat sold in the UK will continue to come from abroad.

The latest forecast from the Meat and Livestock Commission suggests that red meat consumption in 1998 will exceed 2.1m tonnes, its highest level since 1992. But during the same period, farmers have seen the average price for cattle, sheep and pigs drop in real terms by more than 25%.

"There have been many pundits and commentators talking about the British consumer switching away from beef," said MLC economist Bob Bansback at the London conference.

"But the reality is that total meat consumption is now significantly higher than it was 10 years ago."

The increase in consumption has largely been met by increased imports, especially in the beef sector, Mr Bansback added. Imported beef had a 15% market share in 1994 but last year this rose to 27%, due mainly to the strength of the £, which sucked in cheaper supplies from abroad.