A global beef shortage is likely to drive up prices and make the meat a premium item on menus, a report from Lynx Purchasing has warned.
The higher prices are likely to impact on cheap cuts used in pies and burgers as well as prime cuts used for steaks and Sunday roasts.
While the general trend this year is for downward inflation, partly caused by lower oil prices, beef is likely to buck the trend, said the Spring 2015 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast.
This rise in prices will be primarily due to fewer cattle coming to market, both in the UK and worldwide.
Lynx managing director John Pinder said caterers were getting the “blunt end” of price pressure being put by major supermarkets on beef producers, which had led to global supply restrictions. He said: “The normal effect of rising demand is for supply to increase to meet it. But in the face of retailers’ continued insistence that suppliers maintain low prices, there’s little incentive for farmers to increase beef production.”
Lamb prices are also at a seasonal high but Lynx said pork supply had increased because of the Russian ban on EU pig imports. At the same time demand for pork is rising due to the growing popularity of barbecue dishes.
The report said flat fish including brill and Dover sole, along with British lobster and crab, would be good value over the coming months.
Pinder said fine weather meant most seasonal produce was in good supply. “There are always exceptions, of course,” he added. “Reports on the low prices being paid to dairy farmers hide the fact that demand for free-range dairy has soared, pushing up prices at the top end of the market.”