Butchers hold slender lead in market share

Jon Condon, 31/07/2011


Independent butchers maintain a slender advantage over supermarket retailer Woolworths in terms of national retail beef market share, according to latest industry survey data.

The monthly Roy Morgan Australian Meat Purchasing Data report issued recently suggests independent retail butchers have retained the number one slot for beef market share, after regaining the top ranking last month from Woolworths for the first time since April 2010.

The latest monthly Roy Morgan survey suggests independent butchers hold 29.4 percent of retail beef and veal channel share, the same as the previous report a month ago. The assessment is based on rolling three-month data (March to May) rather than single-month figures, which analysts say are more unstable.

Over the same period, Woolworths’ beef market share has risen from 27.5pc to 28.9pc for the three months ended April – the biggest change seen in overall results.

Australia’s other major supermarket retailer Coles, also picked up a little, growing from 20.8pc to 21.6pc over the same cycle. Coles’ share has changed little in each of the past five reporting periods, since hitting a 12-month high-point in January.

As reported in Beef Central in May ("Little impact from Coles HGP-free sales"), that spike was attributed to the launch and heavy promotion of Coles’ no-HGP marketing campaign, and a discounting war waged between Coles and Woolworths that started before Christmas.

Other smaller retailers referenced in the survey showed an easing trend, with the Aldi Supermarket chain easing from 4pc to 3.4pc, IGA continuing a steady six-month decline to 5.7pc and the market/deli/other category also softening.

Analysts point out that when assessing the Roy Morgan survey data of claimed household consumption, the exact level of peaks and troughs cannot be determined with certainty. However the dataset is claimed to be reliably indicative of the general trend being experienced.

Overall species category share saw little substantial change, with beef and chicken both up slightly, but lamb’s share down.

Beef has hit 40pc of total fresh red and white meat sales for the first time since April last year.

Discounting and retail specials used to clear abundant stocks of beef in cold storage due to flat international demand has probably contributed to that improvement in beef’s share, relative to other white and red meats.

The flat retail market and attractive pricing may also have contributed to the strong performance in number of beef and veal meal serves recorded in the survey, with a steady improvement since February to reach 54.09 million serves/week in the latest survey.

Chicken was flat, while higher-priced land was well down over the same period, suggesting price-driven purchase decisions during tight economic times may be still driving purchasing patterns.

In overall red and white meat protein sales, serves averaged 137.6 million/week in the three months to May 2011, up from 135m in April but still lower than the 139.5m figure this time last year.


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