The market for beef in the UK is complex and during normal times we experience a strong demand for serious volumes of steaking cuts, which are way beyond our ability to
Restaurant needs are very precise. Each steak has to represent the same value every time. There cannot be room for mistakes, consistency and tenderness are of major importance. Some groups need up to 50t of rump per month - this means 5,000 animals per month, or 60,000 per year.
These volumes can only be met in full by regular imports from Australasia and South America, who can sell the remaining cuts to other world markets.
Their meat industries are very important to the economies of these countries and they have adopted the best standards and the best equipment to keep competitive, while meeting the standards set by their various customers.
In volume terms, the annual cattle throughputs are:
UK - 77,000; Argentina - 257,000; Uruguay - 190,000.
The UK has not been self-sufficient in meat since the 1800s, and it will always be necessary to supplement from overseas to keep us all healthy. Hopefully the current predictions of a 7% fall in domestic beef production in the next three or four years will prove exaggerated, but if not, we can get some really tasty and tender beef from the southern hemisphere.