Brits turning away from meat-free diets, retail analysis shows

The proportion of British adults cutting meat from their diet dropped significantly in 2020, according to new research.

Data on retail sales from analysts Mintel explained that the pandemic proved to be a ‘temporary setback’ for plant-based products.

The number of Brits actively reducing and not eating meat in their diet has reduced from half (51%) of all consumers in 2019 down to four in ten (41%) during 2020.

Meanwhile, in search of familiar foods, sales of meat products have skyrocketed by 18% during 2020.

Breakfast and barbecue favourites, bacon (+18%), sausages (+20%) and burgers (+26%), all benefited from the rise in scratch cooking and shift towards eating at home.

Increased rates of homeworking have been driving a rise in sales of cooked sliced meat, such as ham, which rose 9% in 2020.

And having been in decline for a number of years, stockpiling of canned meat led to a resurgence in sales – up 22% in 2020.

This comes as 58% of meat eaters say that meals that contain processed meat products are comforting.

Edward Bergen, Mintel’s food and drink analyst, said disruption and uncertainty had caused a ‘relaxation’ around some eating habits among many people.

“It is not surprising that meat reduction has taken a temporary back seat, particularly given the increased desirability of familiar comfort food and meat is seen to really deliver here.



by Farming UK

Cheap German product contributes to rise in UK pork imports volumes

UK pork import volumes towards the end of last year, due partly to the availability of cheap German product, while COVID-19 issues hit export volumes. 

UK pig meat exports, including offal, fell by 15% (5,700 tonnes) on the previous month in November 2020 and were down 8% (2,600 tonnes) on the same month last year. In contrast, UK pig meat imports increased by 9% (6,400 tonnes) during the month and were 2% (1,500 tonnes) up on the same month last year.

The value of pig meat (inc offal) imports increased by 7% to total £208 million during November. This was slightly behind the increases seen in volumes, which indicates a reduction in price. This is unsurprising given that German pork is particularly price competitive, due to an oversupplied market, and low domestic pig prices in Germany following its ASF outbreak, AHDB analyst Charlie Reeve said.

The value of total UK exports went down 15% to £54 million in November compared to a year ago. The is likely to be because of less product availability, due to Covid-19 related difficulties at some processing facilities, Mr Reeve said.

The value of exports to the UK’s largest export destination China dropped back slightly on the previous month in line a decrease in volume, although prices paid in the region remain fairly strong.



by Alistair Driver / Pig World

Domestic demand and NZ imports dip supports lamb prices

Lamb prices have reached the ‘unprecedented position’ of being higher than the start of the marketing season last year, as they continue to rise both at auction marts and deadweight.

High domestic demand and smaller amounts of New Zealand lamb have boosted prices.

And despite chaos at the ports, UK lamb was still in demand on the continent following the last minute Brexit deal.

Sedgemoor auctioneer Paul Ashton said the trade for finished lambs was at an unprecedented level going into 2021, as Sedgemoor Auction Centre’s sheep sales passed the three million mark this month.

“The export demand is currently very strong, having a signed deal has ensured no tariffs on British lamb and this has massively helped the sheep market,” he said.


by Alex Black / Farmers Guardian

COVID, trade issues have big impact on Australia’s beef exports to the EU – Can they bounce back?

AUSTRALIA’S beef exports to the European Union collapsed to their lowest level in 16 years during 2020, due to a range of short and longer-term factors.

Often categorised as Australia’s most valuable beef export market on a dollars/tonne basis, the European Union (still including the United Kingdom until its formal departure back on 31 December), last year accounted for just 8525 tonnes of Australian beef.

That was the lowest volume seen since 2006, when the region was still in recovery mode after the devastating effects of BSE on consumer confidence over beef.

Last year’s volume represented only 61pc of trade seen in the previous 2019 year, but in fact the downwards trend in trade has been consistent over the past six or seven years. Back in 2014, for example, total EU trade was more than 25,000t, with better than 10,000t of that destined for the UK, alone. Last year’s direct or indirect shipments to the UK were just 1567t – perhaps the lowest level seen since World War Two.

Reflecting the high-value of the EU market on a $/tonne basis, last financial year (2019-20), 97pc of Australia’s exports to the region were in chilled form. In virtually all of Australia’s other export beef markets, frozen shipments heavily outweigh chilled.

The recent decline in trade throws greater light on the need for Australia to expedite trade agreements with both the EU, and the newly-separated United Kingdom.



Jon Condon /Beef Central

Meat processors join seafood Brexit protest amid ‘serious and sustained loss of trade’

The British Meat Processors Association has said it is receiving a growing number of calls from meat companies highlighting the “plethora of problems” they have been experiencing at the borders.

The BMPA said the problems are now causing a “serious and sustained loss of trade with our biggest export partner”.

Processors said alongside seafood, fresh meat is one of the most time critical perishable products. Every hour a lorry load of meat is delayed increases the chance of that order either being reduced in price, cancelled and returned or, in the most severe cases, thrown away and ending up in landfill.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the BMPA said: “One of our members reported on 11 January that he had 6 lorry loads of product [value around £300,000] all waiting for customs clearance into the Republic of Ireland.



By Brian Donnelly / The Herald

ABP appoints new managing director of Irish and Polish operations

Meat processor ABP has announced the appointment of Kevin Cahill as managing director of its Irish and Polish operations.

Mr Cahill rejoins the group from OSI where he was managing director Europe for the past five years. Prior to joining OSI he spent 20 years with the Kepak Group. He will take up the role in March.

ABP chief executive Frank Stephenson said: “Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this important role at this time.”

ABP is the largest beef processor in the UK and Ireland. The company also operates substantial renewable (Olleco), pet food (C&D) and protein divisions. It employs more than 11,000 people and has 47 manufacturing plants in Ireland, Britain, Denmark, Poland, Austria, Holland, France and Spain.



by Colin Gleeson / Irish Times

Brexit delays hit cull sow trade

The National Pig Association (NPA) said its processor members had reported excessive bureaucracy of new paperwork requirements was causing delays at ports.

And with pork a perishable product, the delays were making shipments unattractive to buyers in the EU.

The NPA highlighted the full impact of the new rules was yet to be felt, with UK export volumes lower than normal at this time of year.

Problems included a more stringent approach to assessing paperwork causing delays, not having enough veterinary capacity and additional paperwork taking hours to prepare.

NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies said there was a ’bureaucracy overload’ and while some was an inevitable consequence of Brexit, there was also a political element with far more UK consignments being checked than other third country exporters to the EU.



by Alex Black / Farmers Guardian

Post-Brexit customs systems not fit for purpose, say meat exporters

UK meat exporters have claimed post-Brexit customs systems are “not fit for purpose”, with goods delayed for hours, sometimes days, at the border.

The British Meat Processor Association said even experienced exporters were struggling with the system.

It said meat exports to the EU were 25% of normal levels for this time of year.

One large French meat importer told the BBC that he and his competitors were starting to look at alternative suppliers in Spain and Ireland.

The BBC has contacted the government for comment.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processor Association, said: “Fundamentally, this is not a system that was designed for a 24/7, just-in-time supply chain.

“The export health certification process was designed for moving containers of frozen meat around the world where you have a bit of leeway on time.

“No matter how much better we get at filling in the forms, it’s really not fit for purpose. This is going back to the dark ages in terms of a process really, in this digital age.”

He added “It’s going to be a problem for quite a time until we move forward and hopefully get a better digital system in place and can make it work a bit better, but until then, we’ve got to put up with all this paperwork and lorries arriving in Ireland with box files full of paper.”



by Simon Jack / BBC

Brexit delays hit pork exporters

Brexit border delays have brought the UK pork sector to a standstill, with warnings knock on effects could be felt on farms.

UK pork processors were experiencing significant issues in exporting pig meat, bringing part of the industry to a complete standstill.

The widely seen footage of overzealous Dutch inspection officials confiscating ham sandwiches transported by British hauliers was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the UK pig sector is concerned.

The National Pig Association (NPA) said its processor members have reported the excessive bureaucracy of new paperwork requirements were causing delays at ports. And with pork being a perishable product, the delays were making shipments unattractive to buyers in the EU.

And NPA highlighted the full impact of the new rules was yet to be felt, with UK export volumes were lower than normal at this time of year.

Problems included a more stringent approach to assessing paperwork causing delays, not having enough veterinary capacity and additional paperwork taking hours to prepare.



by Alex Black / Farmers Guardian


New Scotbeef Inverurie abattoir plan on hold due to Covid

Scotbeef Inverurie’s plans to build a new abattoir in the north-east have been put on hold due to the Covid-19 crisis and economic uncertainty.

The latest accounts for the company, which is jointly owned by Scotland’s largest red meat processor JW Galloway and north-east farmers’ co-operative ANM Group, revealed its plans for a new abattoir are on hold.

The company is planning to build a new abattoir, to replace its existing premises in Inverurie, at the Thainstone Business Park, on the outskirts of Inverurie.

In his report accompanying the accounts, which cover the year to March 1 2020, managing director Robbie Galloway said: “With uncertainty around Brexit and the effect it could have on economic conditions, the development of the new abattoir on land at Thainstone Business Park was put on hold.

“As the company looked to re-start this project, the Covid-19 pandemic occurred, therefore the directors have decided to keep the project in its current status, and the group will look to restart it when the economic outlook is more certain.”