Meat and poultry prices tend to rise in the summer as the barbecue season drives up demand, but there is little sign of prices moving up this year.

The price of beef has been falling since October 2013, when the price of deadweight steers stood at £3.97/kg, as a result of lower consumer demand. Since then, the situation has been exacerbated further by increased cattle numbers hitting the market in the UK and Ireland, pushing down farmgate prices to just £3.25/kg at the beginning of June.

It is not just beef prices that are under pressure. In the pork sector, prices typically tend to increase by roughly 10% bewteen March and July as shoppers stock up on sausages and other barbecue fare, but this year prices have remained stable. This is largely down to an outbreak of African swine fever, which prompted Russia to impose an import ban on EU pork earlier this year. This, in turn, caused EU pork prices to fall and led to UK pork suppliers facing increased competition from EU imports - during the first quarter of 2014, the UK imported 6% more pork than in 2013. As a result, the price of UK pork stood at £1.60/kg in March, and has barely moved since.

Similarly, chicken prices in the UK have remained stable despite increased demand over the summer, increasing by just 3% ,from £1.30/kg to £1.33/kg, since the beginning of the year.

Supply and demand are well balanced at the moment. At the same time, low beef prices are keeping a lid on demand levels, further contributing to low chicken prices.

Production for all three meats is expected to stay high for the rest of the year; this, coupled with the late start to seasonal price increases, could lead to prices staying down year on year for much of the summer.