Eating out is typically meat market analysts' answer to traders asking about the likely direction of consumer demand. National Food Survey figures published in Meat Demand Trends do show stronger growth in consumer spending on food purchased and eaten outside the home than on household meals during the period 1995-99. But meat and meat product consumption out of home, measured as grams per person per week, dropped sharply from 108g to 99g when BSE hit in 1996, and appeared to settle on a plateau only slightly above the pre BSE level after 1997. Even burgers have shown no uptrend. Only the sellers of bacon, gammon, and ham can find consolation ­ although the picture is very different in the ethnic catering sector. {{M/E MEAT }}