Who said there was no demand for the premium cuts of beef which in turn have led to the continual decline in deadweight cattle prices?

The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel point to increased sales of all beef in the four weeks to mid-April.

According to this consumer panel, people are adapting to life under lockdown and where they shop, and what they buy, has changed.

Add in the sunniest April on record, and it claimed that demand for beef and pork and dairy products, had increased, while the loss of Easter gatherings impacted lamb sales.

Total spend on food and drink (excluding alcohol) in the four weeks to April 19, was £7.2bn, an increase of 8.2% year-on-year, but down from the previous month’s 22% growth.

The economic impacts of the lockdown are, however being felt. In normal times, Kantar data shows households would typically shop for groceries 17 times in a month. However, in the four weeks to April 19, the ‘big shop’ made a return, with households venturing out for groceries only 14 times.

Convenience stores saw sales grow by 39%, compared to last year, aided by people shopping closer to home. Online grocery, which the previous month accounted for 7.4% of the market, took 10.2% of sales in April, with the greatest increase coming from older shoppers.

Total meat, fish and poultry (MFP) sales were slightly behind the overall food and drink average, with spend up 4.6% and volumes up 4.1%.

And, while volumes of MFP via the big supermarkets dropped, butchers’ sales remain particularly strong. MFP volumes increased 43% at butchers’ shops, which is on a par with last month’s 42% uplift.

There was also increased demand for red meat in general which was bought by 71% of households – the highest level seen in more than five years.

Volumes of British primary red meat grew twice as fast as the market average. Research from Nielsen suggests that there has been a rise in local origin preference since the onset of Covid-19 in the UK, with half of shoppers now claiming that they prefer to buy British/locally sourced products.

Beef was still the strongest-performing protein, with volumes up 12% on the same period last year. Mince remains the dominant cut, with share of primary beef volumes up 9% points year on year, at 60%. Steak and stewing share of volume are largely stable (15% and 10%, respectively).

While the warmer weather is thought to have hindered sales of roasting joints, barbecue season appears to have started early, with beef burger volumes up 28%. Added-value products also saw significant uplifts, with ready-to-cook beef products up 42% and marinades up 31% in the four-week period.

Unfortunately, lamb volumes dropped 22%, with leg roasting contributing just over two-thirds of this loss due to the fall in family get togethers over the Easter period. Chops and mince increased 14% in volume terms.

Pork/pigmeat volumes were up 6% overall, with processed again the biggest contributor to growth. An extra £50m was spent on processed pigmeat during these four-weeks, equating to 5200 tonnes. Sausages were up 26% in volume terms, while bacon was up 15%.

Primary pork had a stronger performance than last month, with volumes up 10%. All cuts grew this month, with the exception of roasting, again impacted by warmer weather.

Volumes of dairy sold in April were up 9.2% compared to 2019 with growth driven by milk, of which an additional 38m litres were sold compared to last year. This is the highest volume of milk sold in April in at least the last five years. Since last April, the average price paid for milk in retail has risen by 8% to 64p/litre.

The volume of cheese sold through retail has also grown, up by 15% year on year. The strongest growth, however, came from butter and cream (+17% and +22% respectively).

Retail sales of fresh potatoes under lockdown are 15% above last year, in volume terms. The biggest contributor to this was a large increase in the volume of potatoes bought per trip which reached 2.1kg in the four weeks to 19 April, up by 13% on April last year.

Despite sunny weather, new potatoes have seen the weakest growth, up by only 2% in volume. Instead, growth has been powered by baking and maincrop potatoes.