As of July, primary pork (steaks, roasting joints and mince) is no longer the best performing red meat, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
However, the board said that pork is still performing well, as the primary pork market value has grown 10.2% year-on-year to £800 million, according to figures from Kantar.
This is 1.8 percentage points ahead of the year-on-year increase for total grocery over the same period.
This value growth is driven by inflation, AHDB said, as average primary pork prices rose by 15.7% year-on-year to £5.71/kg, but volumes sit 4.7% lower over the same period.
While new shoppers are typically younger, the majority of sales come from older shoppers, so it remains key to mobilize repeat consumers, AHDB said.
Due to the large number of processed pork options, primary pork makes up a small portion of total pork volumes, at 14.9%.
However, it is one of the cheapest proteins, coming in at £1.50/kg cheaper than the average for total primary meat, fish and poultry.
However, AHDB said primary pork’s retail performance slip and its year-on-year volume decline is beginning to outpace beef.
AHDB trainee analyst, Tom Price, said: “This comes as the cost-of-living crisis causes consumers to trade down to cheaper products like mince and sausages, and cheaper proteins like chicken, as well as limiting their meat consumption altogether in an attempt to save money.
“Consumers switching to primary chicken accounted for 26.2% of all primary pork volume losses year-on-year, as chicken is the cheapest protein on the market at £4.81/kg.
“Messaging on how pork can be used in tasty and affordable meals could help to boost sales. These are key points within AHDB’s Mix up Midweek campaign.”
Pork’s lower price point compared to other red meats stands it in a good position within the market, AHDB said.
This means that over the coming months, primary pork’s retail volume could continue to decline to a more limited extent when compared to beef and lamb.
As the cost-of-living crisis will continue into the festive period, AHDB said there could be increased demand for pork at Christmas as pork roasting joints are approximately 50% cheaper than that of beef and lamb.
“Retailers looking to boost primary pork sales could also promote the health credentials of pork through highlighting how pork is high in protein, a source of zinc and B vitamins including B12,” Price said.
“This could encourage consumers to purchase pork, especially when combined with messaging around primary pork’s affordability.”