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HomeBeefSurge in demand for cheaper cuts could put farmers out of business
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Surge in demand for cheaper cuts could put farmers out of business

A surge in demand for minced meat in the UK has caused a drop in turnover for more expensive cuts, signalling trouble in both the meat processing and production sectors.

Reports from the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) claim that processors are unable to sell large quantities of other cuts as a result of this.

Carcase balance

More expensive meats were destined for the foodservice sector, which has come to a standstill due to the current coronavirus outbreak. Retailers are not willing to buy these cuts because of its packaging and labelling.

The BMPA stated that this problem is called a ‘carcase balance’.

“The portion of an animal that is sold as mince is typically not very profitable but is balanced out by selling more expensive cuts of meat.”

“Even if it is frozen, or retailers buy these other cuts to sell on promotion, it will be at a lower price that makes it unprofitable to continue processing, unless, that is, the price of livestock is reduced.”

“In this scenario, the problem will end up at the farm gate, with farmers struggling to sell their animals at a price that covers their costs.”

Nick Allen, CEO of BMPA, pleaded with retailers to help them with the carcass balance issues and help return to a normal pattern of food purchasing.

“There is plenty of food to go around but, in order for the system to keep working, we need to maintain the mechanisms (like carcase balance) that allow it to function properly.

“If we don’t, then this time next month, we’ll be calling on Government to intervene to fix a much more structural problem amongst farmers, livestock auctions and meat processing companies,” Allen concluded. 

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