National Beef Association (NBA) chief executive Chris Mallon said while farmers were receiving about 46 per cent or less of the retail price, retailer prices had remained static, with a 1-2 per cent increase.
“I keep getting told there is a lack of retail demand and because of that the processors have to reduce the price the farmer gets for his beef,” said Mr Mallon.
“The idea of price fatigue amongst consumers is often mentioned, i.e. beef is just too expensive. This would hold more water if retail price had moved downwards with the cattle price, but it has not.
“We believe there is room for retailers to bring back shelf price and stimulate sales.”
Mr Mallon also criticised retailers’ in-store marketing of beef which he said had been ‘either abysmal or non-existent’, with product poorly displayed and price promotions mainly on imported beef products.
He said: “In recent years beef promotion has been obvious by its absence. Who has the responsibility to market our product?
“AHDB has a duty, as our levy body, to allocate a share of our levy to keeping beef in the minds of consumers, but what is the responsibility of the supermarkets, at the moment they seem to have no interest in UK beef.
“Their only interest being to return a profit, and at the moment that is at the cost of the producer.”
Mr Mallon said family farms did not have ‘the ability to continue to subsidise falling supermarket profits any longer’.
“Retailers need to give a fair share, 54 per cent of the retail price, to the producer, market the product better and more clearly, and most importantly stop controlling and interfering in the businesses of their suppliers,” he added.
“The continual interest in our cost of production is for one reason and that is to continue driving the value of our stock downwards.”