Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has warned pigmeat, beef and lamb producers that there is “unlikely” to be much strengthening of livestock farmgate prices in the short to medium term.
The meat promotion and quality assurance body has also highlighted the growing discord between sharply falling farmgate prices over the past two years and the much less pronounced decline in retail values.
According to QMS head of economics, Stuart Ashworth, the change in movement between farmgate and retail prices is most pronounced in the pig sector where farmgate prices have fallen, on average, by 18% between 2014 and 2015. During the same period retail pork prices only fell by 3% and bacon prices declined by just 4%.
While adding that this comparison might suggest that scope exists for retail prices of pigmeat to fall “without impacting” on farmgate prices, his conclusion is that the whole meat chain continues to face a “challenging time”.
By way of illustration, Mr Ashworth (pictured above) then pointed to the recent announcement that the Co-operative’s food division is to cut the cost of over 200 of its own-brand, British-sourced meat and poultry products, cutting by an average of 10% but up to 50% in some cases.
All of this, he added, highlighted the continued importance of producers’ working hard to differentiate brands in the marketplace and promoting their quality message, an approach which can still set home-sourced supplies apart in the eyes of UK and global consumers.
“By doing so our industry will continue to benefit from the opportunity to achieve a premium price,” he said.