AHDB webinar shows the changing landscape for UK red meat and dairy

The UK's red meat and dairy sectors have fared well during the COVID-19 crisis, with grocery spending offsetting losses from food service closures during lockdown.
calendar icon 5 November 2020
clock icon 3 minute read


According to analysts at AHDB, the pandemic has led to a major shift in consumer buying and consumption behaviours, leading to changes in how people cook and feed their families.

Data shows that pork, beef, lamb as well as most dairy products have enjoyed a significant uplift in retail sales. For lamb, takeaway and delivery gains have also bolstered overall volumes, compensating for eating-out losses.

AHDB Senior Retail Insight Manager Kim Malley said: “To say that this year has been a challenge would be an understatement but we have seen that meat and dairy have made an incredible response to the shift in consumer demand.

“While eating-out has been severely affected by the pandemic and led to restaurants and cafes closing overnight, the retail spend on red meat and dairy has been strong enough to offset many of the losses.”

These findings were revealed during AHDB’s first series of Consumer Insight webinars which looked at the changing market landscape for meat, dairy and potatoes. Over the course of the three days, more than 350 people joined the webinars to gain an overview of how the sectors have performed during an unprecedented year.

Analysts explained how cheese has done well with retail volumes up 16.5 percent in the last six months. During the same period, butter was up 23.6 percent, with cream stealing the show at 31.8 percent. However due to category size milk accounted for three quarters of the volume growth.

In retail, beef and pork grew in line with the market, with beef up 12 percent and pork rising 11 percent. Lamb has seen smaller growth at 0.4 percent, however, this covers a lockdown Easter and prior to COVID-19, volumes were down six percent.

Kim Malley added: “Our webinars not only provided an overview on volume performance, it also highlighted the many opportunities that exist to help increase market share for all sectors.

“We predict the eating out market will not recover any time soon, especially in light of the new UK-wide restrictions announced at the weekend, but the retail and takeaway markets will continue to grow. Therefore, it is vital that we make the most of these channels to grow volumes of all our sectors.”

The Consumer Insight webinars will continue on November 10, 11, 12, and will look at some of the key industry reputational issues impacting consumer demand, such as buying British, the environment, health and animal welfare.

AHDB’s expert analysts will explore how these key issues have fared during the turbulence of 2020 and whether consumers’ views have shifted during COVID-19. The webinars will also uncover future opportunities and threats for meat, dairy and fresh produce.

Click here to sign up for the next series of webinars. To watch any of the three webinars in the first series follow this link.

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