produced for the Meat and Livestock Commission by The Grocer Reassurance has pushed sales to an all-time high since BSE MLC economic analysts are recognised as a point of expertise in the UK meat industry. Here we summarise their predictions for lamb and beef supply and demand this year. Last year saw a promising rise of 7,000 tonnes in total UK consumption of lambs and ewes with chops being the star performer in retail. This year supplies will still be good although it is likely there will be a 2% reduction in lamb slaughter over last year ­ the total, 15.6 million head, should be close to the 1996 total ­ plus a reduced ewe slaughter of 2.2 million head, according to Lesley Green, senior economic analyst at the MLC. A key task for those involved in the supply chain is to extend consumption of lamb among the young and to meet today's requirement for convenience and this is the fundamental basis of the Tim Nice But Dim campaign. Increasing sheep farm incomes means that sheep farmers have to become more market oriented and consumer driven and at the same time seek additional sources of income from non-farming enterprises in the leisure and tourism industry, such as farmhouse bed and breakfasts. In respect of beef, sales in Britain are at an all time high since the pre-BSE problems. In 2000, total beef available for consumption was 955,000 tonnes, a 4% increase year on year and 6% up on the 1995 level of 901,000 tonnes. This, according to Duncan Sinclair, senior economic analyst for beef at the MLC "dispels the myth that UK consumption has not recovered. Sales are in excess of 1995's level, the last full year before the BSE outbreak". Sinclair attributes this increase in sales to the massive amount of promotional work which has been carried out by the MLC over recent years. This includes the implementation of the Mince Mark as reassurance about the quality of British beef to UK consumers. Mince was the star performer in 2000 and processed product has also seen good growth, with burger sales up 11% in volume year on year and the value-added sector continuing to grow. Forecasts for this year indicate stable production, imports up slightly and a modest release of stocks anticipated, thus resulting in a small decline in supplies of beef available for consumption. This said, a crucial influencing factor may be a return to some normality in the overall EU beef market, something that the comprehensive range of measures introduced by the EU on 1 January to allay consumer fears about BSE should address. Sinclair added: "In the UK we expect sales to be maintained during the year. UK consumers are getting a very good deal. Much investment has been made in British beef, resulting in a lot of high quality product being available." {{MLC }}