The Brexit effect has hit beef production in the UK, which could put more pressure on beleaguered farmers while being good news for diners.
While producers may see their income drop because of reduced production, prices seem set to be stable for restaurateurs and diners.
The Regency Purchasing Group, one of the UK’s leading procurement businesses serving the hospitality and catering industry, says there has also been a drop in demand for British beef with the increasing adoption of vegetarian and vegan menus.
Alex Demetriou, Managing Director of the Regency Group, said: “There was an increase in slaughtering in the first quarter of this year because of all the uncertainty around Brexit and the potential impact on the beef markets if we had left the EU at the end of March, as intended.
“The result is that there was plenty of beef in the first quarter, but we are now well into Q2 and production is low because farmers took smaller cattle to slaughter wheras normally they would have waited and we would have had a more even distribution of beef in the market over Q1 and Q2.”
He said forecasts suggest a drop in beef production of 3.5% in Q2 this year compared to the same period of last year and warned that the overall impact of this could be a drop in farmers’ income while there is sufficient supply to ensure stable prices for restaurants and their customers.
Mr Demetriou added: “Interestingly, demand is also down by five percent compared to the same period last year.
“It appears as if this has been driven by the Vegan, Vegetarian and Flexitarian movement, which is becoming increasingly popular as a lifestyle choice rather than any kind of trend.
“The forecast, therefore, is that where usually we would be expecting to see some increases in pricing, we are now expecting stability.
“Turkey has stopped taking Polish beef, and it is therefore expected that this product will be pushed back into the EU and UK, which will also help keep pricing stable.”
Stable beef prices will undoubtedly come as some comfort to restaurants and diners, as there is a danger of some fruit and veg shortages – and therefore potential price increases – because there are not enough seasonal workers to harvest the produce, which may be left to rot in the nation’s fields.
The Regency Group recently reported on how farmers are calling on the Government to increase its Seasonal Workers Scheme to allow 10,000 temporary migrant workers into the UK rather than 2,500.
The Regency Group works with more than 2,700 leisure businesses throughout the UK, including some of Britain’s biggest and best-known attractions, hundreds of golf clubs, plus pubs, hotels, zoos, farm attractions and many others.
If you think you would like to be part of the Regency team, visit www.regencypurchasing.co.uk or call 01934 646 135.