Beef volumes grow, but value sales falter as prices fall

Beef sales experienced strong volume growth in the 12 weeks before December, but value sales remained static compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, all macro categories were back in volume growth, with the exception of sliced cooked meats, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanels Meat, Fish and Poultry (MFP) report for the 12 weeks ending 4 December 2016. The only value growth came from chilled fish, where value growth continued to outstrip volume.

While beef performed well in terms of volume bought, this was balanced by flat value sales due to price cuts. 410,000 more shoppers are buying into beef, but this impact in counteracted by falling prices and smaller trips, said Nathan Ward, business director for MFP. Average prices are falling in mince, roasting joints and steaks, driving more shoppers into mince and steaks. Mince in particular has seen strong temporary price reductions driving volume sales, but holding back value.

Fresh chicken continues to see a strong performance as 720,000 more shoppers are helping to bring the market back into value growth through breast, leg and roasting birds.

Pork, lamb and turkey saw strong volume losses, triggered by different factors.

All three categories are seeing lower levels of promotion compared to last year, but pork and turkey are still experiencing falling prices through base prices, explained Ward. These are driving faster value losses and resulting in fewer shoppers buying pork and turkey.

Lamb is the most likely protein to be affected by currency fluctuations, with the category seeing more imports in the New Zealand season, and prices up 2% on last year. The effect of these changes has been that lamb has seen 492,000 fewer shoppers this year, which could turn around with a strong push for lamb at Christmas.

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