Uplift in retail sales largely offset the loss of eating out in May

Thursday, 4 June 2020

By Rebecca Wright

Red meat demand appears to have bounced back and is now overall slightly up year-on-year. Previous analysis showed that during the early weeks of lockdown total demand for red meat was slightly lower than pre-lockdown despite an increase in retail sales.

Now that we are past the Easter period, lamb demand is largely steady year-on-year. The rise in retail sales has just about offset the removal of the eating out market.

Retail pork demand has more than been offsetting the closure of the eating out sector. Bacon had been struggling before the coronavirus, but is now recording strong growth. The hot weather has also supported sausage sales.

Beef demand has recorded some growth too, albeit more modest than pork. As is well documented by now, demand for mince has been strong. Retail sales of steak also have increased in volume, although steak prices have been down year-on-year. The reduction in price was largely due to a significant increase in promotional activity by some retailers.


Within this analysis we have assumed a complete closure of the eating out market (not including take-aways and deliveries), which covers approximately 80% of the foodservice sector. Many office canteens, schools and other institutions are also closed, not included in our eating out volumes, but before the lockdown accounting for around 12% of foodservice demand.

Rebecca Wright

Analyst - Red Meat

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