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  • March Meat Market Update

March Meat Market Update

Summer is in full swing, with so many options for top quality meat available from us, we've broken down the main four categories and what they mean for your business.

Beef:

Image of five pieces of steak

Australian cattle numbers slumped to their lowest numbers in two decades during 2020 and cattle supply is set to tighten even further as Australia aims to re-build its national cattle herd. With this plan, coupled by recent above-average rainfall across much of our cattle growing regions, has limited producer intentions to bring cattle to saleyards. These conditions as well as current producer mindset, is proving difficult to manage beef stocks through all our major manufacturers at present. Even though we are beginning to recover from COVID-19 and its effects, the impacts felt from this pandemic will be felt for years to come with the beef industry. The retail sector is also facing many challenges of late, with 60-70 day grain fed steers hitting well over $8.00/kg for the first time in history. Again, low re-stocker numbers and the reluctance for many cattle farmers to offload their cattle, being the major reason. This will see the price of red meat through all our major retailer outlets, as well as foodservice distributors, increase substantially for the short term. With beef continuing to prove difficult to manage, the best advise for the short term is to be communicating well with your meat supplier. Ensuring good supply chain management is essential as well as looking for brand substitutions will be crucial during the next 6-9 months. The only relief in sight will be that we are heading towards the cooler months of the year and with many chefs looking to change over to winter menus as the climate cools off, will result in many of the major sweet cuts (scotch fillet, tenderloin, porterhouse) having some pressure reduced as cuts like brisket, chuck, cheeks and other secondary cuts, being more widely utilised.

Lamb:

Image is of cooked lamb cutlets on a plate

Lamb and sheep numbers are expected to stabilise over the coming months as we move towards the cooler months of the year. Lamb numbers hit historically low numbers last
year, however the outlook is currently positive. Whilst we are experiencing reduced sheep numbers over in the eastern states of Australia, we are seeing an abundance of
sheep in WA, which has resulted in many of the sheep being shipped across to the Eastern states in recent times. This has helped to keep pricing and availability more stable than
previously expected for the Eastern states. Whilst this sounds positive, the lamb industry is also entering into a restocking phase, trying to rebuild the national herd numbers for sheep. This process is expected to take until late 2021 and into early 2022. Ensure that you are keeping in close communication with your meat supplier to ensure that sought after cuts are available and in stock. As the  days and weeks start to cool off, lamb cuts required for  slow braising and sous vide dishes (shoulders, shanks) will start to become more sought after. Make sure that you have committed to volumes and requirements with your meat supplier to avoid any out-of-stock issues. Creative chefs will be able to utilise secondary cuts such as shanks and shoulders to create culinary masterpieces.

Pork:

This is a photo of raw pork steaks

Pork has remained quite stable during the summer months, with most pressure coming due to consumers searching for more affordable protein outside of beef and lamb. Chinese New Year was also not as big as previous years due to being thwarted somewhat by a COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in our Victorian region, which has a large Chinese and Asian
community presence. Many of the desired cuts that producers had set aside for the annual event, such as pork belly and collarbutt, did not sell, and have been offered around the wholesale traders at very affordable pricing. A lot of these products are frozen, but some great savings can be found in these cuts.
As the months start to cool off, pigs will start to fatten up and the numbers going through production will also increase. Expect to see the pricing on pork remain firm for the next month or so, before starting to ease off as we head towards winter. There are some great opportunities available at present on items like shoulder riblets and USA style spareribs. These options are great for sous vide or low and slow type cooking. Explore these opportunities with your meat supplier.

Poultry:

Cooked chicken is pictured in this frame

Poultry is continuing to experience added pressure, especially in the retail sector. Driven largely by the increased costs from the beef sector, as many consumers are searching for ‘more affordable’ proteins to feed their families. This added pressure is maintaining higher than normal pricing for this time of year and is not expected to ease off in the short term. The only relief that is expected to aid chicken pricing, is pork, which is another protein that consumers turn to when beef and lamb are expensive. Pork is coming towards its higher production months of the year shortly and may prove to be an ally of the poultry market. It is likely that we are going to see un-seasonably high pricing for poultry over the next 4-8 weeks as manufacturers try to fulfil the demands of the retail sector as well as the foodservice distributors. Speak to your meat supplier about options available to you in frozen cuts to assist in keeping a consistent supply chain, as well as reducing some food costs on your menus. There are some great opportunities available in whole birds at present. Utilising a whole bird for different dishes across your menu, might alleviate some of the pricing concerns that we are experiencing.

November Meat Market Update

November Meat Market Update

The price of meat in Australia is set to continue to increase into the Christmas period, industry insiders have warned, as lingering effects from the drought and Covid closures stifle the industry.

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