Last year 196 million meals of cold beef were eaten

Cold beef represents 5% of total beef eaten

Men aged 45-64 account for a quarter of consumption

More than a third is eaten at lunchtime

Nearly a quarter is eaten on a Monday

Men love their cold beef in the lunchbox

The over 45s and adult males are the heaviest consumers of cold beef. These groups both over-consume in relation to their share of total foods. The mature element to this profile can be explained by older consumers often preferring traditional foods instead of the convenience foods appealing to younger consumers. Men also eat more meals from lunchboxes than women.

Cold beef has a distinctive consumption pattern across the week. It peaks on a Monday then decreases day-by-day to the low point of Saturday. This is a typical weekly profile for foods which are successful in the lunchbox. The reason behind a quarter of occasions is that it needed using up, but this figure is five times that for total food. Some 22% of cold beef meals are eaten as a favourite and 13% as a change.

MLC marketing director Richard Lowe said: "Use of cold beef in-home, dominated as it is by the lunchbox, is still to a large degree a function of the roasting occasion, with leftovers used for sandwiches. For retail purchases of pre-cooked sliced beef, volume growth is apparent in both premium and healthy/low-fat ranges".

Drummond Richards