Woolworths widens the gap at the top of the retail beef tree

Jon Condon, 22/05/2013


Dominant supermarket retailer Woolworths has extended its competitive position relatively to major rivals Coles and independent butchers in the latest Nielsen Homescan* survey released this week.

For the rolling quarter ended April 20, Woolworths held a 32.5 percent share of the Australian retail beef dollar. That’s up 0.3pc on a month ago, and is the highest share recorded by the company for at least two years.

As reported yesterday in Beef Central’s wholesale market update, both Woolworths and Coles have continued heavy promotion of discounted grilling cuts heading into winter this year.

Second placed Coles’ share eased a little according to the latest monthly retail report, declining 0.1pc to 24.3pc share.

Woolworths currently holds an 8.2pc market share advantage over Coles – it’s largest since a 9pc market share advantage was recorded back in December.

The Coles result ends a sequence of five months of market share rises, starting at 22.8pc back in November, according to the Nielsen data.

During that period, Coles slipped past independent butchers into second place in the retail beef stakes.

Independent butchers have recorded a steady decline in beef share over the past five months, falling from 24.8pc back in February to 23.2pc this month. Again, heavy promotion on beef and lamb from major supermarkets may have influenced that trend.

Among other retail stakeholders, there was little substantive change:

  • The independently-owned IGA supermarket group dropped 0.3pc share  to recorded a figure of 9.1pc
  • The Aldi supermarket group was basically steady at 7.0pc, and
  • The ‘other’ supermarkets category was little changed on 3.9pc, although this continues a recent drop from figures above 5pc.          


Category outlook

The overall fresh meat category (beef, chicken, lamb, pork, seafood) recorded value growth of +2.8pc for the rolling quarter ending April 20, versus the same period a year ago. Nielsen said that was due both to an increase in price, and frequency of purchase.

Despite quarterly beef share of all meat protein sales remaining stable from the previous month, its share has decreased 1.25pc, the largest decline of all proteins, compared to the same period in 2012.

At its high-point in September last year, beef represented 39.3pc of total meat protein sales by value, since falling 2.8c to 36.5pc.   

Lamb value share (+0.58pc) has experienced the strongest growth during the past 12 months, while the value shares of pork (+0.48pc) and chicken (+0.34pc) have also increased compared to last year.

Chicken now represents 26.6pc of all meat protein sales value, lamb 14pc, and pork 10pc.  


Big price increases for some proteins

There have been strong price increases across most meats over the past quarter compared to last year.

The smaller veal category has risen most, lifting by $1.77 compared with April 2012.

Next best has been chicken (+$0.84/kg), while seafood (+$0.65/kg) and pork (+$0.32/kg) prices have also increased considerably. The price per kg of lamb (-$1.22) has dropped the most, while beef prices also decreased slightly (-$0.11).

It’s important to note that the prices reported by Nielsen are measured as the average $/kg value of the items in the surveyed consumer shopping baskets, and do not attempt to represent the overall average value of beef and other  proteins being sold in the retail marketplace.

Under these terms, beef recorded an average price of $9.89/kg for the April rolling quarter; chicken $8.25/kg; lamb $10.82; pork $10.48; seafood $19.21.

  • Note: Unless otherwise stated, rolling quarterly figures are quoted, instead of monthly figures, because they are regarded by analysts as being a more accurate reflection of longer-term trends.    



* What is Nielsen Homescan?

  • A consumer panel of 10,000 households
  • Demographically and geographically representative of all Australian households
  • Electronically record their household purchases of all grocery foods (fresh and packaged)

How are panel participants recruited?

  • Households are recruited on-line via a random sampling method
  • The Homescan panel is stratified by life stage, region and household size
  • Households are screened to assess suitability and to ensure they do not work in marketing, market research or FMCG.






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