Retailers must share information better to benefit others in the red meat supply chain, it has been claimed.
The Red Meat Industry Forum - which was set up in 2001 to improve the profitability of the UK meat and livestock sector - has stated that farmers and processors are often left in the dark when it comes to forecasting, leaving them with excess meat to sell, usually at rock-bottom prices.
RMIF director Bob Bansback said that the way retailers communicated with suppliers was sometimes “imperfect”.
He added: “Some of the results of our work suggested information flow is not as good as it could be.
“If a processor expects to
supply x, and the retailer decides it only needs 80% of x, then there is a cost involved.
“The processor has got to dispose of the remaining 20%, often at a loss.”
RMIF bosses are keen to get retailers more closely involved in what they call whole chain projects. These will involve farmers, processors and retailers working together to create efficiencies that, crucially, benefit all in the chain - not just those at the top end.
At a conference in London on November 2, to be chaired by broadcaster Michael Buerk, Asda is expected to reveal details of a whole chain project it will run with its primary and direct red meat suppliers.
The RMIF will also unveil the results of independent research showing that 89% of the meat processors that have taken part in RMIF work so far believe that the projects have improved their profitability.
Bansback said: “This is from hard-headed businessmen, saying this has really improved their bottom lines, not from someone removed from it all, such as me.
“The conference will be an opportunity for other processors to come and meet these people and ask them about what they’ve achieved.”
Richard Clarke