Consumers to get their teethinto red meat again

18 August 1998

Consumers to get their teeth
into red meat again

BRITISH consumers are forecast to eat more red meat this year than any year since 1992 – and an increasing proportion will come from British farms.

An extra £100m was spent on British beef in the first three months of this year. Imports were pushed down from 27% to 20%. Prices are currently held down by quantities of beef in store.

Donald Curry, chairman of the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) gave this optimistic assessment of the sector at a gathering of Borders farmers at Lilburn Estates East Horton Steading near Wooller.

Mr Curry said demand for beef was rising. It had been helped by producer protests and the work of industry organisations. He said the catering market in all its forms, as against the direct retailing market, was where growth was taking place.

Mr Curry said one benefit to emerge from the slaughter of cattle over 30 months of age has been the recognition by consumers of an improved quality in British beef.

The event at the estate was organised by the British Charolais Society to show the potential of the Charolais as a terminal sire to produce quick-growing cattle from relatively plain suckler cows. The estate says it takes a weaned calf with a value of £300, uses £104 worth of feed and produces an animal which can be sold for £520.

David Sandiford, estate manager, admits to obtaining an end price below what would have been achieved two years ago. But says “we do get a positive margin both on the cattle and enough to make a contribution to the overall running costs of the estate”.

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