Shoppers can play their part in safeguarding the future of the British beef industry by treating themselves to a sirloin, rib-eye or fillet. Demand for steaks has “plummeted” since the Covid-19 outbreak, say farmers, owing to a combination of restaurant closures and growing demand for cheaper, more versatile meat products. 

The nationwide trend has seen the value of beef drop by as much as 15%, according to Waitrose & Partners supplier Gary Gray, who rears Aberdeen Angus cattle on his farm near the Norfolk village of Reedham. “I’m very fortunate, as Waitrose’s dedicated processor commits to buying whole carcasses direct from its farmers, as opposed to just buying what they want at auction.

This guarantees excellent quality and minimum waste, and gives us reassurance that we’ll sell a set amount each month. “However, the price of our meat is ultimately dependent on the national average, and sadly this has nosedived since the lockdown. In order to ensure that homegrown beef is sustainable in the long-term, it’s absolutely key that people vary what kind of meat they eat.” Generally, around 40% of a beef carcass is normally turned into mince. Since the lockdown, across the industry this has increased to two-thirds in some instances, 

Oliver Chadwyck-Healey. “We encourage the industry to do more to promote the whole carcass. To our beef-eating customers, we ask you to consider one of these fantastic and affordable offers to do your bit to support our farmers.” All Waitrose beef, chicken, eggs, milk and pork, including bacon and sausages, is UK sourced. The supermarket is set to only sell British lamb from 2021.

Daniel Tapper