Households keep meat on menu despite economic squeeze
Huge numbers of PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef lovers are sticking with their favourite meat cuts despite the squeeze on domestic food budgets, top consumer research specialists Kantar reports.
Avneet Chana, Kantar’s Strategic Insight Director, told Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) conference back in November 2023 that some 97 per cent of all households were still buying red meat despite the pressures on the family purse.
Ms Chana, the Head of Kantar’s Meat, Fish and Poultry team, said almost 85 per cent of all red meat was consumed “for enjoyment” and that this was the motivating force behind sustained sales at a time when most were feeling the economic pinch. “One thing that does come up in every piece of research that we do is that we do things because we enjoy them – and we won’t eat something if we don’t like the taste of it – and red meat ranks really high on consumption for enjoyment.”
HCC’s Head of Strategic Marketing and Connections Laura Pickup said the very high figure commended the hard work of Welsh farmers. It also confirmed the findings of HCC’s Red Meat Development Programme consumer taste trials and validated the extensive work carried out on the Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef brands in recent years.
“In our taste tests, nearly 2,000 consumers endorsed Welsh Lamb’s tenderness, juiciness, flavour and aroma and this survey’s findings show there are thousands who agree with them,” said Ms Pickup.
Kantar’s continuous survey covers some 30,000 UK homes that includes a consumer base that is demographically representativein terms of age, lifestyle and region.
“Our continuous survey shows that only around 28,000 UK households stopped buying red meat in 2023 – but that is a drop in the ocean when you consider we are 60 million people,” said Ms Chana.
She said red meat had increased in price by 11.5 per cent in 2023 which also saw spend increase by 8.9 per cent but volume reduce by 2.4 per cent. She said some red meat categories were increasing in sales, including pork ribs (up 9.5 per cent), mince (up 3.1 per cent) and sausages (2.2 up per cent).
“To contextualise the price increase, let’s compare it to dairy, for instance, with an increase of 20.8 per cent; meat-free, at around the same – 10.4 per cent – and fresh produce at 8.5 per cent,” she said.
Ms Chana said it was encouraging that price inflation was coming down. “With our survey we were able to get a picture of what people are doing, their shopping trends and how they felt about the economy and whether they were struggling, managing or comfortable.
“We saw more and more say they were struggling and less felt they were comfortable and naturally that had impacts on behaviour – we saw change and people starting to make economies right across the market.
“However, there is now some evidence that behaviour is starting to level off a bit. For the first time in a year, inflation is coming down and that is a landmark moment,” she said.