AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly
10 April 2015
Lamb trade picks up post-Easter
Old season lamb prices at GB auction markets increased in the last week, due to tight supplies during the shorter weeks and processors looking to restock following reportedly good trading in the build up to the Easter weekend.
The SQQ for old season lambs for the week ended 8 April was up 7p on the week at 199.9p/kg.
Prices remain 17p below year earlier levels, as numbers marketed so far in 2015 have been higher year on year.
The number of old season lambs penned in the week ending 8 April was down, as expected with many processors not operating on one or both of the Bank Holidays. The total number of old season lambs was down 8% compared to the previous week.
The numbers of new season lambs coming to market was lower on the week with the end of the key Easter trade, although numbers were picking up again by the end of the week.
Prices increased further in the past week, with the NS SQQ up marginally at 266.7p/kg, reflecting the current high levels of demand to restock following Easter.
Prices remain marginally up compared to last year, with the weekly NS SQQ up 8p on the price seen in the same week a year ago.
Purchases of lamb chops/steaks at a two year low
Household purchases of lamb remained in decline, both in volume and value terms, with losses of almost 10% on the year in the three-month period to 1 March.
This has largely been due to the lower availability of New Zealand product on the market over the period. Sales of home-produced lamb, in contrast, have been relatively stable since last summer, even recording a slight increase since the turn of the year.
Lamb chops/steaks recorded their lowest level of sales in volume terms for at least two years, with consumers buying reduced quantities less frequently.
Within the roasting joint category, sales of legs and shoulders both declined in volume and value terms compared with the corresponding period a year ago.
However, sales of lamb legs suffered the most, with double digit losses year on year.
In contrast, sales of lamb mince have displayed some positivity. Purchases over the four-week period have been up year-on-year since December, both in volume and value terms.
This has largely been driven by performance at the Hard Discounters and, to a lesser extent, two of the Big 4 retailers. Volume sales at the Hard Discounters are now at a level similar to three of the Big 4 retailers, accounting for 13% of the total market, up from 8% last year.
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