DATA FROM Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has revealed that cattle prices have fallen for six weeks in a row, at the same rate as the number of cattle slaughtered has dropped across the UK.
The new figures indicate that there is a decreased demand for prime beef, which is driving the overall price down.
“What we are arguably getting at the moment is a sliding price at the same time as we have a sliding supply,” says QMS head of economics services Stuart Ashworth.
There has been a noticeable slowdown in demand for manufacturing beef, which is putting pressure on wholesale prices for forequarters, he adds. Retail demand for beef has also been “subdued”, according to Eblex senior analyst Debbie Butcher.
A number of factors have been highlighted as the potential cause including increased carcass weight, which is boosting beef volumes, a seasonal drop in beef demand which is liely to rise during the summer months and a decrease in exports as a result of a drop in meat consumption across Europe, thought to be fallout from the horsemeat scandal.
Despite this QMS is optimistic about the prospects for the beef market: “Broadly speaking we are predicting a less well supplied market.”