Pork is defying a general downturn in red meat sales as it becomes seen as a cheap and good-quality meat, according to Bpex.

Volume sales of fresh and frozen pork were up 2% in the first five months of 2009 against the same period last year to 71,065 tonnes [TNS 20w/e 18 May]. There was a particular spike in the month following Jamie Oliver's TV show in January, when volumes rose 4.2%

"Where pork may have been regarded in the past as 'the cheap alternative', it is increasingly regarded as the value-for-money meat of choice," said BPEX chairman Stewart Houston

Red meat generally has suffered in the past year. Despite a 6.8% value sales rise, volume sales slumped 4.7% as the recession hit [TNS 52 w/e 22 March].

Fresh beef and lamb volumes were down 5.1% and 7.7% respectively.

Pork volumes were also down 3.8% before the upturn this year.