Waitrose has launched its 'biggest ever' promotional push on steak products to help farmers retain full value for their livestock amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Disruption as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on the sector which had already suffered a sustained period of low prices.
The closure of the food service sector has seen the loss of a home for a significant proportion of the higher value cuts of beef, most notably steaks and roasting joints.
Waitrose has recorded a sharp rise in the sale of mince, as customers change their habits and return to weekly shops and batch cooking
Mince sales are up by 33% year-on-year, but demand for steaks is far lower, with the value of beef dropping by as much as 15% across the market.
Beef producer Gary Gray, who supplies the supermarket chain, said the price of meat is ultimately dependent on the national average, and this has 'nosedived' since the lockdown.
"In order to ensure that homegrown beef is sustainable in the long-term, it’s absolutely key that people vary what kind of meat they eat," he said.
Generally, around 40% of a beef carcass is normally turned into mince. Since the lockdown began, across the industry this has increased to two-thirds in some instances, reducing the total value of an animal by up to £300.
In response, Waitrose has launched a steak offer, with reductions on selected pre-pack and meat counter products in April, May and June, including sirloin, rib, rump and tomahawk cuts.
The retailer's beef buyer, Oliver Chadwyck-Healey, is encouraging the industry to do more to promote the whole carcass.
"By helping customers choose a greater variety of cuts, we can continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our dedicated British beef farmers and ensure their survival through this challenging time.”
“These offers hopefully provide our customers an affordable way to buy high quality meat that in turn helps them do their bit to support our farmers.”
It comes as the NFU President Minette Batters recently criticised retailers for failing to stock British beef during last week's Great British Beef Week.