Mince is dominating shelves, while retailing at an average of £3.70/kg, but cuts selling for between £9 and £19/kg are "being pushed into the corners".
The approach is "unbelievably lazy" and "depressing", the National Beef Association's (NBA) new chairman, Oisin Murnion, has warned. "Mince already accounts for half the beef that is taken home for meals and if more of it goes on the shelves, then more beef cattle will be massively devalued and more farmers will give up producing it," said Murnion.
"Beef displays in supermarkets are dismally thin and depressing. If you can see past the mountains of mince, all you will find are token offerings of stewing steak, sirloin roasts, heavily promoted topside and, if you are lucky, some reasonable rump steak or fillet."
Murnion compared the displays by the major multiples with what was on offer in many a butcher's counter: "The contrast between this retail wasteland and the knowledgeable displays constructed by high street butchers, who are committed to adding as much value as possible to the beef carcase and take a professional pride in the depth and range of product on their counters, is nothing short of shocking," he said. "In these circumstances, the NBA has no qualms in advising consumers who are interested in beef to turn their backs on the multiples and return to enjoying shopping for beef prepared and presented by a skilled butcher instead and will be doing so in future.
"There is more to beef retailing than stacking up mountains of mince and using it as a discount lure to pull in customers from rival outfits. If the supermarkets continue with these myopic plans, they will kill the domestic beef industry and the NBA cannot stand idly by and let that happen," Murnion added.
UK beef farmers' average price of 265p/carcase kg is undervaluing cattle that are "worth at least 320p and the fault lies with retailers who undersell the product, because they lack the imagination to add more value to it", said Murnion.