Retail sales of beef in Britain are still booming, according to the latest data from consumer research specialists Kantar Worldpanel.

Back in the spring, the beef sector feared for the future. Restaurants and hotels closed due to Covid restrictions, and panic-buying shoppers bought lower-value products such as mince, leading to a serious imbalance in demand and very unstable farm-gate prices.

Since then, marketing campaigns by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), retailers and other bodies, to persuade shoppers to try cooking restaurant meals at home helped to stabilise the market, with retail sales climbing to levels well above last year.

The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel cover the late summer and autumn. They show that in the 12 weeks to November 1, consumer spending on beef in Britain totalled £551million, 12.6 per cent higher than the same period in 2019.

Overall, during the first ten months of 2020, British retailers have sold 14.6 per cent more beef than last year in terms of volume, with sales of premium cuts such as steaks up even more (18.5 per cent).

In 2019, 53.1 per cent of beef bought by retail consumers in Britain was in the form of mince, rising to around 58 per cent during the panic buying period in March. In the most recent data, this figure has fallen to 51.9 per cent, which is positive news for the beef sector

HCC data analyst Glesni Phillips said, “It’s reassuring to see beef performing extremely well in the GB retail sector, as foodservice and hospitality continue to be hit by Covid restrictions. This is an important driver of the current strong prices farmers are receiving.

“The statistics on mince are noteworthy. Selling over half the total volume of beef at relatively low prices as mince has impacted the profitability of the sector during recent years. The challenge now will be retaining the new customers who have been more adventurous in their home-cooking in recent months.

“HCC is intensifying its campaign to promote PGI Welsh beef in the run-up to Christmas, prioritising the GB retail market as the outlook for exports to Europe and the foodservice trade in general remains uncertain.”

Currently, average prices for prime cattle at market are well above the five-year average.