Beef summit held at Defra today to coordinate action in response to falling beef prices

A beef summit was held at Defra today to coordinate action in response to falling beef prices

Retailers, processors, producers, levy bodies and government were all represented.

They talked about the action that can be taken to support a sustainable and profitable British beef industry.

Farming Minister, George Eustice said:

“The summit brought together representatives from across the food and farming industry to ensure that we have a sustainable and profitable British beef industry for the future.

“We identified ways in which producers and processors can work together to better anticipate changes in supply and demand, open new export markets and increase the market share of UK beef in this country.”

Key points from the meeting


Farmers would benefit from better communication from retailers and processers about the types of meat in high demand from shoppers.

There is scope for processers to better communicate to farmers the specification of beef that retailers demand.

This will help farmers to produce types of meat for which they will get a good price and avoid being hit by lower prices for types of beef that do not meet a change in specification.

Export markets

Export markets provide huge growth opportunities for the beef industry.

To maximise these opportunities, we need to make more use of branding and protected food names to help differentiate and raise the profile of British beef.

Defra will continue to work with EBLEX and other industry levy bodies to open new markets, especially for parts of the carcase that are in low demand in the UK.

UK market

We want to increase the market share of UK beef in this country.

More work is needed to promote British beef in supermarkets and give shoppers the information they need to choose local produce.

There is scope for more use of country of origin labelling in processed foods to help guide consumer choices.

Research and investment

As part of the Agri-Tech Strategy, Government is investing £90 million in new national centres of agricultural excellence.

Farming Minister, George Eustice said he wants to explore the potential for some of this money to be invested in research into the best genetics for beef cattle.

Defra will also explore a role for our Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee to drive genetic improvements in the beef industry.

£140 million from Defra’s Rural Development Programme has been ringfenced for improving productivity and innovation.

Industry representatives will raise awareness among beef farmers of the chances they will have to apply for funding from 2015.

Next steps

AHDB, Defra, NFU and meat processors will work on these actions and report back to Defra ministers in the autumn.

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