Volatile market for red meat in Wales
Welsh red meat producers are caught between media reports on panic buying and a not so encouraging reality of instability of farm-gate prices. Huge changes in demand from the retail and foodservice sectors as a result of the Coronavirus crisis are causing significant and unpredictable price instability in the red meat sector, according to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).
The Easter season started promising, with exceptionally high prices recorded for both prime lambs and cull ewes at auction markets in Wales during March, with prime lambs peaking at 249.0p/kg for the week ending 21 March. However, the lockdown dictated in the UK and across Europe brought a sharp decline in prices, with prime lamb prices losing 50.0p/kg on the week, whilst cull ewe prices in Wales were down £38.60/head to stand at £62.50/head for the week ending 28 March.
With the current imbalance in the supply chain, HCC is working with processors and retailers to ensure that shelves are re-stocked with the full range of cuts that consumers may want, in parallel with outreach to consumers to encourage different eating habits. A new and re-focused social media campaign from HCC promotes ways of cooking larger cuts in ways that are convenient and affordable for family meals and utilise simple store cupboard ingredients.
Gwyn Howells, Chief Executive of HCC, commented: “The media reporting of increased consumer purchasing, via panic buying, coupled with busy butchers’ stores demonstrates an overly optimistic picture for the meat industry. Significant disruption to the out-of-home market is a cause for concern which HCC is tackling head-on. Getting the message across to consumers that cuts other than mince can be prepared and enjoyed at home is crucial in maximizing value for all parties in the red meat sector.”
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