Market report: Lamb sales hit by higher prices

High prices have put off household purchasers of lamb, with sales of fresh and frozen lamb dropping by almost 20% in the month to 13 June, compared with the same period last year.

Latest data from market research company Kantar showed household purchases totalled 5500t over the four-week period. However, higher retail prices slightly offset the drop in volume, with total expenditure on lamb falling by 13%, year-on-year, to £41m.

The number of households purchasing lamb declined by 10%, although those buying lamb did so more frequently, said a Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board report. Worst affected cuts were leg roasting joints, sales of which fell by 35%, and stewing lamb, down by 22%.

“The decrease in volume purchases of lamb has up until now been somewhat offset by the favourable exchange rate boosting the export market,” the report said. “The recent strengthening of sterling against the euro may reduce the competitiveness of UK exports, particularly significant for lamb. This could result in the need for increased activity in the market due to domestic supply pressures.”

Finished lamb prices eased to 346.1p/kg in the week-ended 10 July, 35.8p/kg above the same time last year.