Sales of fresh meat are stagnating throughout the European food retail sector. Accordingly, all producers - both the meat producers and the meat product manufacturers - are under enormous pressure at present. Many are faced with two options - adapt or sell up.
The structural change observed throughout Europe was the main topic of debate at the first round-table discussion organised by the Belgian Meat Office (BMO) in Brussels. The basis for the exchange of views was provided by a talk given by Andrew Cookson, Director of the Swiss market research institute Gira, which has specialised on the international food markets; its Meat Club generates European and global forecasts for the meat retail sector.
Cookson has been charting the pressure on producers and processors in the European meat industry over the last five years. It is caused, amongst other reasons, by concentration in the food retail sector, and its internationalisation. This has eased off just recently, but is expected to gather pace again in the future.
Product differentiation of the meat markets within the food retail sector is leading to downscaling of the mid-market segment in favour of discount and premium outlets. Cookson forecast rapid growth for these two outer segments.
Source: afz-allgemeine fleischer zeitung 35/2006