Red Meat Gains Pace in Food Race

UK - Red meat seems at last to be playing 'catch up' with other products in an rapidly inflating food market
calendar icon 30 April 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

That was the message from the Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, Donald Biggar, addressing the Scottish processing industry’s annual conference.

Speaking in Edinburgh today (Saturday 26th April), Mr Biggar noted that Retail Price Index (RPI) figures have gone up by 30% in the last ten years, food inflation has increased by 16% in the same period but red meat inflation has risen by just 8%.

He added: “The RPI figures speak for themselves. The inflationary increase for red meat is barely half that for the total food budget. It’s quite clear that the retail price of red meat still has some way to go before it matches what’s happened to other food products.

“In a post CAP reform era the onus is on the market to deliver a fair price for our red meat but that is not happening. The finger is increasingly being pointed at multiple retailers, and the farming sector is currently suffering as a consequence of the continued downward pressure on the retail price of red meat.

“On a global scale supplies of red meat are tightening and that situation is, to an extent, being mirrored in Scotland where we’re seeing a small but significant reduction in calf registrations of 2.5% in 2007, that’s down 6% since 2004. The picture for sheep and particularly the pig sector in Scotland at this time is pretty bleak.

“For the red meat sector to remain a corner stone of Scotland’s burgeoning food industry, and if we are to feed our indigenous population as well as supplying a potentially lucrative export market, then it’s vital that there is no further reduction in livestock numbers in Scotland.”

Mr Biggar reported that the new Board of QMS had held its first formal meeting through the week with members making clear they were ready to identify solutions and provide necessary leadership to help the industry meet its current challenges.

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