Purchase volume of premium red meat cuts rises sharply

Sales of steaks and roasting joints have soared in 2021, new retail data shows
Sales of steaks and roasting joints have soared in 2021, new retail data shows

Sales of premium meat cuts such as steaks have significantly outperformed cheaper products as locked-down Brits seek to recreate restaurant meals, new figures show.

The purchase volume of premium red meat cuts rose sharply in the 12 weeks to February as the UK re-entered one of its toughest lockdowns since the start of the pandemic.

The sales of beef steaks (+36%), beef roasting joints (+26%) and lamb steaks and chops (+15%) are now all significantly up in demand, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

In contrast, the sales of cheaper cuts failed to keep pace, as beef mince, usually a family favourite, only managed a 13% increase in volume compared to the 37% increase seen in the 12 weeks to May 2020.

Mince was one of the most in demand meat products at the start of the pandemic as Brits focused on cooking simple and familiar dishes while at home.

However, these new results suggest a significant shift as people seek out more interesting and higher quality produce.

British beef and lamb producers have also seen a surge in demand as more people regard UK meat to have higher environmental standards and to be of a better quality.

This shift has also been felt on the high street, with local butchers now accounting for 12.1% of total spend on lamb in 2020, as opposed to 9.9% in 2019.

Gwyn Howells, chief executive of Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales), said the pandemic had forced the public to re-evaluate their decisions made about food.

"It’s extremely encouraging to see such strong results in the premium end of the market and evidence that we are making more informed choices.

“We are not only choosing a product that tastes good, but making an environmental decision through knowing that the meat has been produced in a sustainable way by trusted farmers.

"As we emerge from lockdown, I hope that we will continue to see many of these positive behaviours, such as caring about the quality of the food we buy, persist long into the future.”

Sales of meat have proved especially robust throughout the pandemic, despite many people saying they intend to reduce their overall meat consumption.

For example, figures show that total beef sales over the last 12 weeks were up 19% and up 15% for lamb compared to the same period last year.