Efforts to boost steak sales during the Covid-19 crisis have paid off, according to AHDB.
The farm levy body said its Make It with Beef campaign, coupled with promotions on steaks in shops, have helped sales recover.
The UK-wide campaign, run in conjunction with Quality Meat Scotland and Hybu Cig Cymru in Wales, was launched in response to a drop in cattle prices throughout April as processors struggled to deal with a “costly carcase imbalance”.
The imbalance was caused by a surge in demand for beef mince and a decline in demand for high-value cuts such as steak and roasting joints during the pandemic – a problem made worse by the closure of restaurants, cafes and food service outlets.
“Early lockdown saw beef mince sales soar which threatened to cause problems with carcase balance and profitability,” said AHDB retail insight analyst, Zoe Avison.
She said the imbalance led to the average price shoppers paid for primary beef falling to its lowest in five years in the last week of March at £7.01 per kg.
“To help combat the challenges faced due to lockdown, industry bodies called upon retailers to purchase a wider range of cuts, in order to ease the pressure on carcase balance,” added Ms Avison.
“In the second week of April, AHDB launched the Make It Steak consumer marketing campaign to encourage shoppers to recreate special steak meals in the home.”
She said these efforts paid off and steak held a 23% share of the retail beef market in the four weeks to June 14 – up from 21% in June 2019 – and the average price consumers pay for primary beef is now £7.77 per kg.
“Foodservice demand and trade have also started to pick up which is providing support to cattle prices,” added Ms Avison.
“Longer term, the impact will depend on the shape of the economic recovery and how consumer behaviour develops.”