EU lamb market is crushing just before Easter
Low demand for Easter lamb in Europe is sinking the British lamb market, with prices dropping between £30/head and £37, depending on the product. "Such a sharp change is almost unprecedented. There were some rumours yesterday that France was closing its border to UK exports. This is not the case, and the border between us and France remains open to commercial traffic although there are some extra checks in place. Food products are on the list for priority entry through EU borders and lorry drivers are temporarily allowed to work on Sundays in France to help commercial traffic flow," commented Rebecca Wright, red meat analyst for AHDB.
However, restrictions put in place by different states are expected to disrupt the supply chain to the EU and, besides that, with some the foodservice sector closed almost all over Europe, demand for lamb is expected to remain low despite the fact that Easter time is almost here.
Lamb demand in France has been described as currently very low. In a similar situation, as we have seen here in the UK, shoppers panic bought and stocked up. Many consumers are now eating through those stocks. The further restrictions announced overnight are expected to lead to an increase in shopping again, but this time most likely of poultry and pork rather than more expensive beef and lamb.
Throughout Europe lamb demand at Easter is expected to be low. This could lead to a significant oversupply of leg cuts which are a staple product for many at Easter. Retailers in some European countries have canceled their Easter lamb marketing campaigns.
Looking at domestic demand. Lamb typically performs very well at pubs and independent restaurants, and with those now closed, there is likely to be downwards pressure on UK lamb consumption. Although some out of home eating is expected to move to within home, different meals and smaller portions are typically eaten at home compared to when eating out, said Mrs. Wright in its analysis.
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