Cheaper meats a cut above in recession

IT may be some time yet before people think a pork chop is a pig with a karate move while the recession bites deeper into the household food budget.

And ‘where’s the beef?’ is a question not yet being asked at the cash-starved dinner table.

As the credit crunch chomps down on the food choices being made by shoppers, lower-priced meats such as mince and stewing beef are moo-ving off the shop shelves faster than the old proverbial through a goose.

In money and meat it’s all about subprime, and these are the cuts which have been showing the greatest growth at retail outlets, according to a new survey.

Bord Bia, which commissioned the data, said the less expensive cuts of meat have the same nutritional value as the higher priced ones. Ireland Market Manager Teresa Brophy said, as these meats may have a higher fat content, consumers need to trim them to remove the excess before cooking.

Last year, shoppers spent €1.24 billion on meat, but the economic recession is forcing people to think more carefully about how they spend their money on food. An increase of over 3% in the total spend on meat in 2008 was mainly due to price increases, according to data from TNS Worldpanel.

Bord Bia said consumers continued to tighten their belts in the economic downturn. More shopping across multiples, spending less per trip and buying more products on promotion are becoming more prominent.

Ms Brophy said, as consumers continue to trade down across food categories, budget-price of products are showing the greatest growth. “This trend is reflected in the meat category with lower priced cuts such as mince and stewing meat showing the greatest growth.

“An example of this is evident within the beef category where mince and stewing beef sales increased by 8% over the 52-week period,” she said.

Likewise in the chicken category, where sales of dark meat (legs/wings) were 18% higher.

In value terms, sectors showing the most growth are beef, sausages and pork, according to the TNS data.

In addition to underlying price increases, sales of beef increased by 6% to €<464 million over the 52-week period as more households purchased.

The same was true of sausages, with sales rising by 9% to €85m, equivalent to 5% increase in volume sales. At the same time, more regular purchasing of pork has contributed to sales increases of 6% up to €142m.


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