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US News: Bovine meat: commercial circuits turned upside down by the Covid

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In 2020, sales of minced steaks origin France soared. No effect on the income of breeders, penalized by the drop in exports.

The closure of commercial and collective catering, mainly supplied with foreign meat, shut off the import tap, down 16% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Conversely, consumers have voted for fresh minced meat ( + 14%) or frozen (+ 21%) in supermarkets and artisan butcheries, mainly supplied with tricolor meat.

“Renationalization of the market”

In total, French consumption of beef fell by 2.3% in 2020. But consumption of beef from France increased by 1.4%. We have seen a renationalization of the French beef market, analyzes the Institut de l'Elevage (Idele) , in its annual report for beef cattle. This market inflection gave a boost of 3% to the quotation of cows.

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Unfortunately, this good news was negatively offset by the fall in the value of young male cattle (- 3%) and weaners (weaned calves, -3 to -5%). The former were stranded for three more weeks in fattening shops, due to restaurant closures in Greece and Italy. The latter were exported less (-2.5%), due to the contraction of outlets in Algeria and Spain.

Controversy over meatless menus in the canteen

Pointed out by Idele, this large gap between females, boosted by the rise of minced meat and males, stuck in congested export markets has not escaped the Minister of Agriculture . Julien Denormandie called on local elected officials to bet on this quality meat and have the young bovine reflex when the menus of the canteens are established.

An invitation battered by the municipality of Lyon which opts for menus without meat . Difficult to digest for breeders whose income fell in 2020 from -18% to -34% depending on the production area (source Idele).

The beef cattle farms, weakened by successive droughts, are at the end of their rope. The non-renewal of breeders and the shutdowns are warning signs, warns Idele. In 2019 and 2020, the suckler herd lost 140,000 cows, a sign of intense decapitalization.

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