Market Updates - Meat

19 July, 2021
Allan Peart

The meat industry is under pressure. Like many other areas of the foodservice supply chain, the meat industry has also been affected by the lack of labour available, compounded by Brexit and COVID-19.

Personnel shortages have resulted in some of the largest meat producers pre-warning farmers that they might not actually be able to take their stock in for slaughter.

The BBC have reported that meat production lines could shut with one in ten staff members being told to self-isolate by the NHS COVID app. 

Demand continues to be a key factor, but as a result of the personnel shortages, processors are offering a reduced and simplified range of products to reduce the skill levels required within the production lines, ultimately affecting the menus operators are able to offer their customers.

Global challenges are also compounding these issues as China continues to attempt to fill the pork void created as a result of Swine Flu, and the European shortage of poultry due to what’s being described as the worst outbreak of Avian Flu ever seen, affecting over 22 million birds. 

Poland, Europe’s largest poultry producer, ceased production in order to eradicate Avian Flu and has now reported no cases since June, which is a positive message, but ultimately these issues have resulted in poultry prices rising by 15 – 20%.  

And it’s not just poultry that has seen increases; AHDB reports that the average price for prime beef is currently 15% higher than the five year average, lamb is 26% above where it was last year and pork is also 4.6% above the five year average.

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