According to Meat & Meat Products 2016, a new report from market intelligence provider Key Note, the meat and meat products market continued to expand in 2015, rising by 1.8% in market value from the previous year to total an estimated £19.85bn. This increase follows year-on-year growth over the past decade; however growth appears to be slowing from the beginning of the review period in 2011. This slowing rate has been accompanied by a decline in meat consumption, with volume consumption consecutively falling over the past 5 years. However, the market continues to expand, aided by the ongoing economic recovery, revitalised demand and the diverse nature of the industry, offering a plethora of goods across a range of price points.
The market is divided into four sectors: carcass meat, poultry, bacon and ham, and other meat and meat products. Poultry is the largest sector by production volume and the fastest growing by value, having risen impressively over past years to account for nearly a quarter of the overall market, even in the face of campylobacter concerns, which it appears to have overcome. The sector has benefitted hugely from its pricing, which has remained stable while others have fluctuated widely, increasingly presenting poultry as a cheap source of a number of essential vitamins and nutrients which are required for a balanced and healthy diet.
Nonetheless, the largest sector by value, by a great margin, is other meat and meat products, primarily due to the huge variety within the category, such as meat-based ready meals, value-added and preserved meat products (including frozen and canned formats), and products such as cooked sliced meat, sausages, meat pies and pasties and pâté. The sector has enjoyed a lucrative relationship with the surging demand for convenience, which has gripped food industries in past years in line with increasingly busy consumer lifestyles. The last two sectors, carcass meat and bacon and ham, have both been subject to what is the biggest story in the industry over the past year — the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) revelations, directly linking processed, and to a lesser extent red, meat as a direct cause of cancer. The publication ranked processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen, the same class as cigarettes and air pollution, while placing red meat as a Group 2A, as a probable cause of cancers. With the report published in October, the full impact of these revelations is yet to be realised; however, there are already clear signs of reactive changes in consumer behaviour and product choice.
The market is hugely resilient owing to its status as a dietary staple; the vast majority of the consumer base deems meat and meat products to be necessary for a healthy and balanced diet, offering a variety of needed vitamins and nutrients — a notion supported by the Government and Public Health England (PHE). This underlines the industry’s permanence in the UK marketplace; nonetheless, sustained growth remains impressive and can be attributed to a number of internal and external factors at play. Externally, the ongoing economic recovery has greatly aided value growth, as the return of financial security has gradually permeated the consumer base, seeing rates of employment and disposable income rise impressively over the space of the last year; this has driven sales, especially at the higher end of the market. However, the benefits of the recovery are yet to trickle down to the whole of society, with this lagged response ensuring the continuation of demand at both ends of the spectrum, upholding the need for affordability as many households remain wary of cutting cost and trimming weekly budgets. Internally, growth has been driven by a rising demand for premium meats, which, aided by heightening financial security, has contributed important income, broadening the consumer base and opening new channels for growth. This is linked to a wider trend for provenance, which has significantly developed in recent years following a series of health, quality, ethical and environmental concerns in the meat industry.
Looking forward, Key Note expects the meat and meat products market to further its rise, benefitting from a developing global market boom, ever-evolving British palates and ongoing premiumisation and diversification in line with forecast economic growth and an increasingly health-conscious UK consumer base. Accordingly, Key Note expects the market to continue its impressive growth, forecasting market value to rise by 8.1% over the next 5 years, to reach a total of £21.85bn by 2020.
By Marco Amasanti
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Notes to editors:
Key Note’s 2016 Market Report, Meat & Meat Products, analyses the retail market for meat and meat products in the UK.
Key Note Ltd has been providing commercially relevant market information to libraries, academia and businesses since 1978. With over 1,000 titles available across 22 market sectors, and new or updated titles published every month, Key Note is one of the UK’s most prolific and respected business information providers. Within the range, some reports are written in response to particular market conditions, whereas other reports will be produced regularly year on year.