Butchers win back retail ground

Jon Condon, 19/06/2011


Independent butchers appear to be winning back retail beef sales ground from major supermarkets, particularly Woolworths, according to latest survey data.

The monthly Roy Morgan Australian Meat Purchasing Data report issued Friday afternoon suggests independent retail butchers have regained the number one slot for beef market share from national supermarket chain, Woolworths. It’s the first time that has happened since April 2010.

The latest monthly survey suggests independent butchers now hold 29.4 percent of retail beef and veal channel share, up from 28.7pc a month ago. The assessment is based on rolling three-month survey data (February to April), rather than single-month figures, which analysts say are more unstable.

Over the same period, Woolworths’ beef market share has eased from 29.3pc to 27.5pc for the three months ended April. Australia’s other major supermarket retailer Coles, also lost share, easing slightly from 21.2pc to 20.8pc over the same cycle. Coles’ share has now declined in each of the past three monthly reporting periods, after hitting a 12-month high-point in January.

As reported a month ago in Beef Central, that spike has been 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. 

The only other improver this month in retail ranks was the Aldi Supermarket chain, which now occupies 4pc of total domestic beef retail turnover, up from 3.6pc for the same period a year ago. The Aldi supply chain will be the subject of an analysis by Beef Central in coming weeks. 

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.

In another significant milestone in the survey, lamb crept past beef for the first time ever in terms of average retail price. Lamb averaged $15.82/kg for the three months to March, up 11.7pc on the same period last year. Beef slipped to $15.35/kg average price, down 4.9pc on last year.

The flat retail market may have contributed to that fall in beef price, as it is a much more heavily consumed protein than lamb (55.6 million serves/week versus 20 million serves, nationwide), meaning it may be more sensitive to price-driven purchase decisions during tight economic times.

In overall red and white meat protein sales, serves averaged 133 million/week in the three months to April 2011, a similar figure to last year. There have been no major shifts in category share over the period either, with beef and pork volumes appearing to increase slightly and chicken and lamb decreasing slightly.


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