Inertia, or at least a profound conservatism, is the distinctive characteristic of the core market for carcase meat, as the first of a long succession of MLC promotion and advertising advisers learned decades ago. The chart shows estimated volumes of the main conventional joints and cuts bought by British shoppers for in-home consumption Its clear message is of an underlying gentle downtrend in the total quantity though occasionally sharp changes in the purchases of quite narrowly defined categories. Beef joint sales were the obvious casualty of the 1996 BSE crisis. Yet beef steak purchases proved resilient. Supply side influences have often been exploited by the marketing tacticians to stimulate latent demand, especially for pork where availability is more strongly cyclical than in beef and lamb. These sales surges tend to be associated with deep discounting, the price elasticity symptomatic of mature or declining markets. The customers most tempted are likely to be those already committed to the commodity, and their extra purchases will probably be time shift' transactions for freezer stocking or substitution for other offers in the carcase meat category. {{M/E MEAT }}