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.

Image of staff member Rebecca Wright

Rebecca Wright

Senior Analyst - Red Meat

See full bio

Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Beef and Lamb market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at info@ahdb.org.uk  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.