Pork prices remain favourable despite losing top red meat spot

Primary pork’s retail performance is beginning to slip, with volume decline outpacing beef
Primary pork’s retail performance is beginning to slip, with volume decline outpacing beef

Primary pork prices remain favourable despite being knocked off the top red meat spot, according to new figures and analysis.

As of July, primary pork, comprising steaks, roasting joints and mince, is no longer the best performing red meat, as consumers trade down to favour more affordable options.

The primary pork market value has grown 10.2% year-on-year (YOY) to £800m according to Kantar, which is 1.8% ahead of the YOY increase for total grocery over the same period.

This value growth is driven by inflation, as average primary pork prices rose by 15.7% YOY to £5.71/kg.

However, volumes sit 4.7% lower over the same period, Kantar figures show, continuing the declines seen since November 2022.

Looking at these figures, AHDB said that while new shoppers were typically younger, the majority of sales came from older shoppers, adding that "it remains key to mobilise repeat consumers".

Due to the large number of processed pork options, primary pork makes up a small portion of total pork volumes, at 14.9%.

However, it is one of the cheapest proteins, coming in at £1.50/kg cheaper than the average for total primary meat, fish and poultry (mfp).

But AHDB said primary pork’s retail performance was beginning to slip, with its YOY volume decline outpacing beef.

AHDB analyst, Tom Price said this came as the cost-of-living crisis causes consumers to trade down to cheaper products like mince and sausages, and cheaper proteins like chicken.

He said: "Consumers switching to primary chicken accounted for 26.2% of all primary pork volume losses YOY, as chicken is the cheapest protein on the market at £4.81/kg.

“Messaging on how pork can be used in tasty and affordable meals could help to boost sales - key points within AHDB’s Mix up Midweek campaign.”

Pork’s lower price point compared to other red meats stands it in a good position within the market, according to Mr Price.

"This means that over the coming months we could continue to see primary pork’s retail volume declines limited when compared to beef and lamb," he added.

"As the cost-of-living crisis will continue into the festive period, we could see increased demand for pork at Christmas as pork roasting joints are approximately 50% cheaper than that of beef and lamb.

“Retailers looking to boost primary pork sales could also promote the health credentials of pork through highlighting how pork is high in protein, a source of zinc and B vitamins including B12.

"This could encourage consumers to purchase pork, especially when combined with messaging around primary pork’s affordability.”