UK red meat demand lower than pre-lockdown

Despite higher retail sales, overall demand for red meat is now lower than it was before the coronavirus lockdown.

According to the latest figures by the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB), demand soared during the initial weeks of lockdown, in response to the widespread closure of eating out establishments, as consumers stockpiled groceries but fell again sharply.

However, weekly data shows that more recently, demand for red meat that was eaten out of the home, has only partially been replaced by higher retail sales.

This chart below compares demand last year against demand this year based on weekly Kantar retail sales.

Duncan Wyatt, lead red meat analyst, explained: “We have assumed a complete closure of the eating out market (not including takeaways and deliveries), which covers around 80% of the foodservice sector.

“Many office canteens, schools and other institutions are also closed but have not been included in our eating out volumes. However, before the lockdown, these accounted for around 12% of foodservice demand.

“As such, demand overall is likely to be even lower than this analysis indicates, albeit slightly.”