Concentration of retailer power is the trend familiar almost throughout the EU meat market, but the latest edition of the MLC's prestigious Meat Demand Trends highlights some of the continuing regional differences and subtle distinctions between the industry reality and the simplistic economic model. Market shares of the major players are broadly similar in the five major EU member states. The supermarkets' role in the German retail meat sector appears small, but there the discounters play much the same part as the multiples in the UK. Although the underlying trend nearly everywhere is towards one-stop shopping, favouring the biggest operators, the report notes an IGD prediction of a more complex industry comprising five segments: destination stores, meat solution centres, discounters, neighbourhood stores and remote shopping. Also less tidy than the commonly predicted oligopoly is MLC's projection of evolving relations between retailers and their suppliers. "Competition will continue to exert downward pressure on manufacturing margins. Global fluctuations in prices will allow bigger players to take advantage of price differentials. Vertical integration and further concentration in the industry will help manufacturers to control costs and build economies of scale. {{MEAT }}