The organisation attributed the decline to the general drop in meat consumption observed in developed countries for 30 years, the price rise, and the increase in processed meat consumption.
“The quantity of meat purchased is directly related to price levels. The 2.5% decline in consumption must be considered in line with the average 3.1% rise in price – a rise that does not offset the increase in raw material and industrial costs,” SNIV said.
When breaking down the decline by type of meat, and found that lamb suffered the strongest decline at 6.2%. “Retail prices rose dangerously (+5.3%) and volumes literally plummeted (-6.2%). Worse: this loss in consumption is due to consumers giving up sheep meat (lamb’s market share dropped by 3.5%, meaning 500,000 households stopped buying it in 2011), especially young people,” SNIV added.
Veal was next on the list, with a 3.9% drop in volumes sold. The loss in market share observed in young consumers (-10.7% in under-35s) was partly offset by the rise in consumption by the over-65s, and the efforts made to contain price rise (+1.9%). Once again, the processed segment did better, with an 18.6% increase in mince veal consumption.
Fresh beef maintained its customer base, but still lost 2.2% in volumes, mainly due to the 3.2% price hike. Fresh mince declined by 0.1% and “could almost be seen as a winner”, the organisation pointed out.
Fresh pork products lost 3.3% in volume, reflecting a 3.3% increase in price. Sales of fresh sausages however, grew by 2%.
Strong poultry performance
Poultry slaughterings grew by 2% in 2011, boosted by chicken (+4%) and duck (+3%), while turkey went down 2%, according to the French ministry of agriculture. In the meantime, consumption of poultry products increased by 0.8%, led by chicken and duck (+1% and +3% respectively), and despite a 1% drop in turkey.
“Poultry trade was very active during the first nine months of 2011. Imports grew 9% and exports 11% year-on-year. Shipment-wise, it is chicken that stands out again, with a 16% hike over the period,” the ministry said, adding that Saudi Arabia imported 36% more French poultry products in the first three quarters of 2011.
“Let’s be honest in front of this situation: sausages and burgers will not be enough to support the sector, just like exports won’t be enough to boost production. Our first market is at home and, on this one, poultry manages to maintain its volumes despite a 5.4% price rise,” SNIV concluded.