Despite the glorious summer and the subsequent increased number of barbecues, retail meat sales declined in the 12 weeks ending September 9.

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel, show primary meat in particular felt the strain as demand was driven by an increased desire for quick and convenient foods consumed at barbeques and picnics.

Reflecting this, burger sales remained high with volume sales up 14% on the year with the value of the market increasing by 19%. The market penetration for burgers also increased by almost 7% and was further bolstered by the National Burger Day (on 23 August) and its surrounding press and promotion.

The volume of frying/grilling steaks and marinades saw retail sales increase 10% and 35% respectively.

However, the overall decline in beef sales by volume slipped 6.5%, driven by a sharp 28% fall in roasting joints and 7% decline in mince.

Even stronger declines were seen in fresh and frozen lamb retail sales; with 857,000 fewer shoppers year-on-year resulting in a 13% year-on-year decline in volume sales in the most recent 12-week period. The total value of this part of the lamb market, however, decreased by only 7%, as the average retail price rose by 6%.

The increased number of barbeques and picnics, resulting in a promising sales period for pork items, with the volume of pork ribs sold up 8%, and marinades up 19%. Pork sausage sales volumes also increased; up 4% on the year.

In contrast to this, volume sales of loin roasting joints were down a huge 44% as the average price per kg increased by 27%. This reduction in sales drove the overall 4% year-on-year decline in volume of fresh and frozen pork sold.

Overall, pig meat sales to include primary, bacon, sausages, sliced cooked meats, chilled main meal accompaniments, ready to cook, pulled pork, pork ribs and burgers and grills was the only sector to increase in retail volume sales, up a modest 0.4%.

Total beef protein sales were down by 2% and lamb protein sales down almost 11%. Total volume sales of all primary meats to include poultry was down by 1.9%, which with average prices decreasing slightly resulted in a 3% contraction percentage year-on-year in total market worth.