Looking for information to help build your menus and keep on top of your GP? Each month the Menu Fresh Market Report aims to provide information on meat, dairy and fresh produce, reporting industry and market news across the United Kingdom, Europe, and the rest of the world.
Here, we can advise you and your chefs on market movements, product changes and seasonal trends to help you make an informed choice.
Turkeys are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the current avian flu outbreak, which in combination with a doubling of their feed costs, means some farmers aren’t rearing many for Christmas this year having reduced rearing by 20-50%, and some have shut down production entirely.
A Battle of Cost of Living
The Caterer reported that with temperatures dropping, heaters turned up, and the cost-of-living crisis leaving seats empty, some hospitality businesses are making the decision to put their venues into hibernation this Winter. The Business Leaders Report by CGA and The Caterer looks at how operators are planning for future price rises.
The Rise of ‘Grass-Fed’ Claims
As stated in the Dairy Reporter, there are growing pressures towards farming and the opportunities to present grass-fed beef, lamb and dairy produce. The ‘grass-fed’ claim is tapping into the growing demand for sustainable, regenerative farming practises and establishes itself as a positive and unique selling point for British produce.
The Growth of Takeaways
A survey conducted by Deliverect, with 7000 participants, saw that 40% of UK consumers are now purchasing takeaways up to 3x times a week, compared to 33% last August. Alongside this, customers are prioritising the quality of ingredients, with 68% saying this is more important amid increasing prices.
With the FIFA World Cup starting on the 20th November, venues will need to be more efficient when planning for a different experience compared to the usual sunny evenings and beer garden gatherings from previous years. This could be a good event to fill more seats and encourage more spending via nibbles, sharing platters and beverages. The Catererhas released 10 ways to maximise Winter World Cup revenue.
This is the best time to buy seasonal British top fruits, such as apples and pears, as the maximum number of varieties are available straight off the tree. Growers are struggling to make a profit due to the rise of input costs, and with approx. 50% of imported fruit being used instead of British-grown, Growers urgently need more support from all retailers and foodservice.
Whilst they are an all-year-rounder, Grapefruits are sweeter and juicer in the Winter. The best quality comes when grapefruits are plump and firm.
Pomegranates are now coming from Spain and Turkey, when choosing the best quality look for shiny, unblemished pomegranates, that feel heaviest for their size for extra juiciness.
December is the last month for best season cranberries. Choose the best options with plump, firm, red berries.
UK bramley, braeburn, russets and cox apples are now best in season with high availability, whilst pink lady Is falling behind with prices estimated to rise driven by poor fields and high costed freight.
Clementines season is underway, with quality and price looking to improve. However, oranges overall are suffering from poor yields and higher shipping costs, so these prices may become unstable.
Figs are coming from Peru and Brazil, but availability is struggling with low stock, so expect shortages and increased prices incoming.
The best quality of cauliflower is coming in mid-December. Always go for cauliflower with pure white heads with no discolouration.
All standard mushrooms have had a price increase over the last couple of months, this is down to transport costs, huge increase in energy costs and 200% increase in compost. We need to expect further increases on the products.
With vegetables such as cucumbers and courgettes, an outbreak of Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) is causing stocks to dwindle, as it damages produce through mottling or yellowing of the leaves and stunting growth. This is expected to push up prices as availability drops.
Brussel sprouts, a sure sign winter is on its way. Brussel sprout tops are very much under used. Rich in vitamin C this product combines a freshness of spring greens with the background hint of Brussel sprouts.
This is the last season for high quality pumpkins, now Halloween is over it is time for the spiced pumpkin lattes and warm pumpkin pies.
Despite warnings that the hot dry weather would lead to low global potato yields, increases in prices are currently slowing down for November.
The AHDB has released a new report looking at the recent behaviour of Christmas Dinners, showing that red meats such as pork, will be challenging the traditional turkey dinner. This is driven mainly by the shortage of turkeys from the avian flu oubreak and the fact that pork is a cheaper alternative.
All poultry and captive birds in England must now be housed indoors to prevent the spread of bird flu as mandatory measures roll out on the 7th November 2022.
The UK is currently experiencing what has been described as the worst ever outbreak of avian influenza – more commonly known as bird flu. The disease has led to the culling of thousands of farmed birds as the authorities attempt to stop the spread of the contagion.
In East Anglia alone the industry is valued at around £550m, and accounts for 41% of domestic turkey production, leading to headlines of potential Christmas shortages.
GB standard pig prices are beginning to stabilise, as the UK produced 85,900 tonnes of pig meat in October. Pig production was up by 1.4% compared to the previous month, but still down by 1.1% compared to October 2021.
Year-on-year commodity prices of Norwegian cod and haddock – two of the UK’s key fish import categories – were up 39.8% and 21.3% respectively in August. Seafood producers and brands are facing multiple challenges with increasing energy costs, rising wages, labour shortages and soaring ingredient costs.
GB deadweight prime cattle prices continued a steady upward trend and are still considerably higher than in 2021. This is due to input prices remaining high, however feeding costs have eased slightly.
Vets are monitoring for signs of increased cases of Mycoplasma Bovis within both beef and dairy herds. M Bovis can cause several diseases in cattle which could make supply unstable.
After the festive period, Lamb prices are forecasted to ease. Current GB Lamb Deadweight Standard Quality Quotation is £6.6p lower than the same period last year, but £1 higher than the five-year average.
Input prices are still high, remaining significantly above year earlier figures and despite record high prices seen this year, farmer margins will be feeling the pressure.
Dairy & Eggs
Some good news shows that milk prices have begun to slow down as the market adjusts to increased reduction and less demand. However, as previously mentioned, with the increase of Mycoplasma Bovis cases, this could make prices unstable and is therefore being monitored closely.
From a survey hosted by the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), 33% of free-range egg producers had either reduced flock sizes, paused production temporarily or left the industry completely as production costs increase. This on top of the Christmas season and the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) crisis means that the UK are facing massive egg shortages.
Some venues, such as Wetherspoons, have started offering breakfast substitutes to replace the missing egg, such as an extra hash brown, sausage or onion rings.
Associated British Foods (ABF) has announced it is facing “substantial and volatile” input cost inflation, which will hit results in its current financial year. In the year ended 17 September 2022, the parent company of Kingsmill, Twinings and Jordan’s, announced a 10% rise in food sales, with adjusted operating profit for sugar, agriculture and ingredients ahead of last year.
Get creative with themed menus and easy-to-host activities at your venues.
Check out these upcoming key dates in December.
1st – Month of Giving: Try hosting a charity evening, helping the community to come together through fun activities such as Christmas Bingo, Karaoke, Quiz Night or a Meat Raffle.
2nd – English Fry Up Day: We all enjoy a good fry up, let’s celebrate this delicious dish and all the times it has woken us up feeling refreshed and full, or offered us that cheeky option to have BR-INNER. Try providing an all-day breakfast offer to your guests.
12th – 12 Days of Christmas: The countdown begins, draw in the families with an advent calendar competition on your social media, offering a different discount each day running up to Christmas.
16th – Ugly Jumper Day: We all know this one, we all love the bright and garish colours of those Christmas Jumper, make sure your staff and guests join in the fun. Perhaps even design one yourself?
25th – Christmas Day: If you haven’t already, get those Christmas day adverts out now, offering a delicious traditional dinner and a few festive alternatives for those BAH HUM BUGS.
31st – New Year’s Eve: Gather around to watch the fireworks at Big Ben, entice family & friends with sharing platters and a later closing time to welcome in 2023.
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