In an impressive bid to dominate the week's meat market news, MLC economists issued their closely watched Market Outlook bulletins for all three species almost simultaneously. Production problems delayed the sheep sector publication for a couple of days. But maybe it was worth waiting to be warned MLC's Tim Nice but Dim' advertising campaign will be back on the screen next year after clocking up respectable viewer numbers, especially among the target younger age group. Taylor Nelson Sofres sales data for September are said to hint the launch campaign had a positive impact on frying/grilling cut purchases. Also worth noting is evidence of a strong performance by lamb in the catering sector during the April-June quarter for the second successive year. The 26.2% increase this time was a much stronger gain than for any other meat type. Lamb marketing executives have complained for decades about their problems in the catering sector, but in recent years there have been increasing signs of sheepmeat coming back into fashion. In other respects, however, the news is mostly of a stable but unexciting market. Contraction of the national breeding flock and lower slaughter lamb numbers will mean production ending this year slightly down from 1999 and with a further small decline expected in 2001. Imports and exports are both expected to rise next year, leaving consumption within the UK a shade lighter. {{MEAT }}

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