Survey shows Coles & Woolies now hold majority share of fresh meat sales

Beef Central, 17/04/2018

AUSTRALIA’S two largest supermarket chains for the first time captured more than 50 percent of Australia’s $13 billion fresh meat market between them in 2017, research shows.

Results are from the Roy Morgan annual Single Source Supermarket & Fresh Food Currency report, based on surveying of more than 50,000 people, including 12,000 grocery buyers.

For the purposes of the analysis, ‘fresh meat’ includes beef, chicken, lamb and pork, but not value-added items.

Analysis of long-term market trends showed that market leader Woolworths last year held a 26.5pc share, up 1.1 percentage points since 2016, and Coles Group a 24.3pc share, up 2pc, continuing a decade long-trend.

It delivered a combined fresh meat retail market share of 50.8pc – larger than all other retail outlets including rival supermarkets Aldi and IGA, butchers, farmers’ markets, smaller chain and independent supermarkets combined.

The results contrast somewhat with monthly retail fresh meat sales data compiled by Neilsen Homescan, which suggest Woolworths’ current market share sits at around 35pc, Coles 26pc, independent butchers 17pc, Aldi 11pc and IGA 7pc.

Butchers’ share shows sharp decline

The Roy Morgan data suggests both Coles and Woolworths have enjoyed stronger growth in the fresh meat market over the past year than emerging rival, Aldi which it says now has a 9.6pc share of the fresh meat market, up 0.9pc in a year. See Beef Central’s earlier report highlighting Aldi’s recent growth in Australia.

All three retail chains – Woolworths, Coles and Aldi – have clearly taken substantial market share from traditional independent butchers, the survey suggests.

“Ten years ago independent butchers and markets had nearly a third (32pc) of Australia’s fresh meat market,” the report said. “Today this is just under a quarter (24pc).”

In the last 12 months, fresh meat market share for butchers and markets dropped three percentage points – the steepest decline of any time period in the last decade.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said Australia’s increasingly competitive fresh meat market was squeezing the market share of the traditional Australian independent butcher.

“Australia’s ‘big two’ supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles now capture more than 60pc of Australia’s $100 billion overall food and grocery market. In recent years the big two have been moving to consolidate their market shares in various fresh food markets including fresh meat, fresh fruit & veg, fresh bread, fresh deli and fresh seafood,” she said.

“Against the increasing concentration of the fresh meat market within the two big supermarket chains, the decline in market share for butchers and farmers’ markets has been consistent over the past decade,” Ms Levine said.

Unfortunately for butchers and farmers’ markets, their decline in fresh meat market share appears to be accelerating, with the category now holding only 24pc of Australia’s fresh meat market share.

“As we’ve noted previously, Australia’s supermarket duopoly has been disrupted in recent years by the arrival of Aldi which has captured a significant market share across categories. And in addition to Aldi, other foreign entrants are already on the lookout for supermarket locations including giant European supermarket chains Kaufland and Lidl (see Friday’s report on Beef Central).

The arrival of new ‘cashed-up’ competitors keen to make a sizeable dent in Australia’s supermarket retailing landscape meant the pressure on smaller specialist retailers including butchers and markets would only increase in coming years, Ms Levine said.

Other trends identified by Roy Morgan and deeper analysis of consumer preferences shows those specialists who understand their customers are still well placed to capitalise on the ‘hidden value’ in the discretionary end of their market.

  • The Roy Morgan analysis is from its extensive Supermarket & Fresh Food Currency Report which covers all food retailers, including products purchased and dollars spent. The company said the combination of a large annual sample collected over more than a decade enabled a unique in-depth trend analysis of the market.


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  1. George smith, 06/07/2018

    I have noticed you call supermarket meat, fresh, when it is gas-treated.

    For readers’ benefit, Mr Smith is referring to gas-flushing, using modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). The process relies in combinations of inert gases, mostly nitrogen (70pc of the earth’s atmosphere is nitrogen), inserted into tray packs before sealing. The process inhibits bacterial growth and extends chilled shelf life from 1-2 to 7-10 days. Editor

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