The NFU has accused some of the country’s biggest retailers of “failing to honour their commitment to sourcing British beef” and branded it “inexcusable”.
As Thursday’s St George’s Day marked the start of Great British Beef Week, the farming organisation said there were reports some supermarket retailers had shelves dominated by Irish produce at a time when British prime cuts are in plentiful supply and desperate need of a market.
Beef farmers have been hard hit by the closure of the service sector which includes pubs and restaurants, outlets which use the more high value cuts of meat.
Chair of the NFU Livestock Board, North Yorkshire farmer, Richard Findlay, said the almost overnight closure of these markets, wiped out around 25-30 per cent of beef sales which meant other retail outlets for steaks and joints of beef needed to be found. And the largest of those is supermarkets.
But, he said, one of the biggest challenges has been that the highest volume of products sold through supermarkets is mince rather than the higher value cuts of meat which can lead to what is known as a carcase imbalance.