17 November 1999
Import warning as deadweight prices rise
By Vicky Houchin
MEAT processors have warned that supermarkets will turn to imports if cattle prices increase much more.
Deadweight values have been rising steadily in recent weeks and are now more than a 20p/kg dearer than at the same time in 1998.
“There is a price limit and, if gets too expensive, the supermarkets will source from outside the UK,” said Bob White, procurement manager with ABP.
Cattle could be bought from Ireland where values are trading at more than a 20p/kg discount to the UK.
But as long there was sufficient supply at an affordable price, they wont be brought in at the moment, said Mr White.
Tim Bastable of Midland Meat Packers echoed this view, saying farmers should be very careful. “Supermarkets will turn to imports.”
Values had risen on the back of Christmas demand and a shortage of premium-quality cattle, said Mr Bastable. He doesnt believe prices will rise much further because Christmas orders were now nearly finished.
But Mr White disagrees. He believes deadweight prices could climb by up to 4% in the coming weeks.