WHILE retail beef prices might now be sitting tight, chicken continues to flex its muscle on the domestic market.

In the June quarter, indicative retail chicken prices declined 13 cents and are now tracking 28c down year-on-year, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) data.

Chicken sits at $5.31 kilogram retail weight, compared to beef’s $19.16/kg, which has waivered little from the previous quarter.

Australian Meat Industry Council representative Trevor Hill said beef had declined significantly as a percentage of turnover in his Adelaide stores, replaced mostly by chicken.

“Twelve months ago beef accounted for 33 per cent, equal with chicken. Now chicken is 38pc and beef 28pc,” he said.

“Butcher shops have to sell something to stay in business.”

MLA chief marketing and communications officer Lisa Sharp said given cattle prices had continued to surge to new highs in the third quarter of 2016, retail beef prices may again come under pressure.

However, beef’s share of fresh meat sales had remained ‘quite stable’ overall, despite the price pressures, she said.

“We know Australians love their beef – it has been a staple on the dinner table for decades – and we know Australian families still want to keep Aussie beef on their plates because of its quality and nutritional benefit.”

Emerging trends included consumers switching the types of cuts they usually purchased, she said.

“Rather than the traditional steak, some of these other cuts include rump, bolar blade and shin,” she said. “Mid-week family favourites such as sausages and mince remain popular.The great thing about beef is the wide variety of cuts available across the whole carcase. There is a cut of beef to suit every occasion and every budget.”

Hunter Valley butcher Robert Constable said offal was also doing well at the moment.

“I’ve heard that across the board from wholesalers,” he said.“I haven’t got any oxtail left this week and cheeks, kidneys, and lambs tail are in much higher demand.

MARKET COUP: Chicken sales are showing marked improvement as the price of beef starts to take its toll on consumers.

“I think it’s a sign of the ‘let’s eat cheaply’ culture of today.”.

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