Operators urged to change menus as the price of beef and pork rises

Alice Bexon, purchasing manager at Beacon
02/08/2017 - 07:00
British purchasing company Beacon is advising operators to reconsider their menus, given the significant price increases in beef and pork.

Having recently revealed that the cost of beef is at an all-time high – up almost 40 pence per kg compared to July 2016, representing an 11% increase YOY – Beacon has also claimed that the price of pork is also on the rise - already up a third on 2016 - and is set to stay.

Alice Bexon, purchasing manager at Beacon, said: “The cost of British, Irish and imported beef has risen and continues to rise dramatically, with current prices at an all-time high with pork showing a similar story.

“The latest Foodservice Inflation figures show that costs are up by 8.8%, the highest they have been in nine years and it is only a matter of time before foodservice outlets will not be able to swallow up these increases. However, this can be avoided with careful planning and research.”

Partnering with butchery supplier Fairfax Meadow, Beacon offers the below advice on how to best devise menus to alleviate the impact of increasing prices

  • Weigh up cost vs. value” When menu engineering, weighing up cost vs. value is very important to make sure your menu is delivering quality whilst minimising cost. This can be as simple as reviewing the origin of your products or the products themselves, to make sure you’re buying the best value product for your money.
  • Seek out alternatives” According to Fairfax, the US BBQ trend for beef and pork cuts for “low ‘n’ slow-style” cooking has seen what were previously underused cuts, such as beef brisket, beef shortribs and pork shoulders, soar in price. Always keep an eye out for alternative cuts that are available, which utilise lesser-used parts of the animal. For example, whole feather blades make a great alternative to brisket when slow cooking.
  • “Rethink your steak offering” In terms of steaks, Fairfax has reported that the demand for ribeye is continuously increasing, making this a more expensive choice for operators. With that said, we would advise considering rump as an alternative. Rump is less susceptible to wider beef price increases as the demand for this cut is lower in relation to other prime steak cuts. It is being often overlooked as a go-to great value steak option.
  • Ask the expert” Take advantage of your butcher or butchery suppliers by asking them for their thoughts and ideas, as they may have knowledge that could help you maximise sales. For example, seek information from them on how you could innovatively present different cuts of meats in order to maximise your GP and create brilliant looking dishes too.
  • “Focus on British” We would recommend a focus on British, and communicating the locality of produce to your customers. Although costs may be higher than imported products, the opportunity for added value through provenance marketing can help you engage with guests.

Bexon also added: “In the long term, we predict that beef prices will begin to soften. The increased prices and strong export market are making cattle an attractive farming proposition again, and through an 18-month turnaround period, we could see the availability of UK beef increase and therefore prices steady.

“The same cannot be said for pork production, which looks likely to struggle to remain competitive against international exporters and adverse exchange rates – so look at what you can do to avoid passing on higher costs to your customers.”

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