Fall in UK Meat Consumption

UK - Data on consumer buying pattern throughout the United Kingdom indicates an overall fall in the purchase of meat and poultry for the 12-week period upto 9 Septenber 2008 when compared to the same period in 2007. According to a Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) bulletin, total meat and poultry consumption has fallen by 10 percent with the largest fall recorded in the beef category, 24 percent.
calendar icon 3 November 2008
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The only categories indicating an increase are bacon and sausages with an increase of 20 percent and 11 percent respectively. Although lamb has recorded a fall of eight percent in quantity, there has been an increase in the number of consumers purchasing the lamb products, however the average weight of purchase decreased.


Beef continues to have the largest market share of the meat and poultry category at just below 50 per cent. This is six per cent less than the same period last year. In terms of quantity of beef consumed, total beef purchased in the 12 week period up to 7 September 2008 as compared to the same period in 2007 fell by 24 per cent to 3.9 million kgs from 5.1 million kgs. The average price per kilogramme increased to £6.10 (an increase of 17 per cent). The number of people purchasing beef showed only a slight reduction, however the average weight of purchase fell by 25 per cent to 6.7 kg from 8.9 kg.

The only cut within the beef category showing an increase in quantity sold was mince with an increase of 2.3 per cent. The performance of all other cuts fell with roasting beef showing the biggest reduction, 21 per cent. Frying/grilling cuts fell by 10 per cent and all other cuts fell by five per cent to six per cent. However, the position is more positive for the lamb trade.


Lamb market share of the meat and poultry sector has shown a one per cent increase to 18 per cent from 17 per cent. There has also been a marked increase in the number of people purchasing lamb with the data showing that 43 per cent of consumers are buying lamb product, an increase of 13 per cent. The quantity of lamb purchased fell by seven per cent to 655,000 kgs from 708,000 kgs. Although the quantity of lamb had fallen, there was an increase in spend on lamb to £4.2 million in the 12 week period with the average price per kilogramme increasing to £6.50 from £5.90 with the average weight per purchase falling to 2.3 kg from 2.9 kg.

The most dramatic increase in cuts of meat has been lamb mince as compared against cuts from all categories. Lamb mince is up by 37 per cent, the next largest increase in performance was ‘lamb leg roasting’ with an increase of five per cent. In the lamb category, ‘shoulder roasting’ cut had the largest reduction with a fall of 19 per cent being recorded against the same period last year.

Other Meats & Poultry

Bacon and Sausages are the categories showing the highest increases in consumption. Although there are slightly less people buying sausages than in 2007, the spend in this category has increased by 16 per cent and the average weight per purchase has increased to 3.3 kg from 2.9 kg. Although one of the smallest categories in the sector with total sales being three per cent, the quantity of bacon purchased has increased by 20 per cent to 421,000 kgs and the spend for these purchases is up 47 per cent to £2.4 million.

Northern Ireland

Consumer demand for meat and poultry in Northern Ireland is reflecting the same trends as the UK. Beef as a category is losing market share within the sector with less meat and poultry being purchased overall, and consumers switching to sausages, bacon and chicken. The only category recording an increase in volume was sausages with an 11 per cent increase to 1.5 million kgs.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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