Prices for popular meats such as beef and lamb are rising, despite the fact that inflation has, relatively speaking, kept the overall cost of food low. Unfortunately, it’s a case of supply and demand.
For example, there has been a noticeable drop in in the number of cattle coming to market in Great Britain and this can be correlated with the price of beef gradually climbing upwards.
Because of this, chefs and restaurants have been advised to get creative and look at cheaper, less common cuts and to consider prominently featuring other types of meat and fish in order to keep costs down ahead of the habitually busy Easter period.
“The normal effect of rising demand is for supply to increase to meet it, but in the face retailers’ continued insistence that suppliers maintain low prices, there’s little incentive for farmers to increase beef production,” explains John Pinder.
Pinter’s company, Lynx Purchasing, has predicted a further rise in meat prices over the course of the next twelve months. And again, the finger is pointed at the behemoths of the supermarket world:
“As often happens, caterers are getting the blunt end of the price pressure that major supermarkets put on suppliers, which is an international issue and not simply confined to the UK market,” he said.
To keep the attention of customers, Pinder suggests that chefs should turn towards other varieties of meat to offer customers value for money. Pork and fish were given as two such examples that could easily be offered as mid-price and premium alternatives to the traditional cuts of beef.
But, as Dick van Leeuwen, comments, establishments could be served well by ditching those traditional cuts. “If chefs are clever and do a bit of research about cuts, they could pick [out] some real winners.”
Cuts such as shin or fore-rib, that have declined in popularity in recent years, could quite easily be brought back into prominence and, through clever marketing, could be positioned as a premiumised product. This would not only keep costs down, but it would provide operators with a great chance to increase their profit margins as well.