A picture doing the rounds on social media recently showing the cost of a lamb leg in one UK supermarket has definitely hit a nerve with many New Zealanders.
The picture shows what would be considered a low price and at half the usual UK retail value. This created plenty of chatter and concerns over the pricing differential between the two countries. But digging deeper for the facts shows that for starters that price was a Christmas special at only one supermarket for £6.50/kg – in NZ dollars that’s $12.50/kg. You can pick up lamb legs from Countdown this week for less than that.
Secondly, the odds of all the lamb legs being solely from NZ are slim, because the online listing specifically states that the leg of lamb could be NZ or British.
Thirdly, that promotion being run is easily the cheapest offering through the UK supermarkets. A quick skim through the four major supermarket’s websites has almost all other lamb legs going for £9.50-£13.50/kg, which works out to be NZ$18.30-$26/kg based on the exchange rate at the time of writing. That puts PaknSave and New World at the lower-end of this range this week at $19-$21/kg online.
The UK doesn’t have their equivalent of GST on food products either, so even if they were cheaper, that’d explain 15% of the difference.
According to exporters, the UK is overly stocked with lamb legs at the moment since retail sales have slumped post-lockdowns, and that’s driving wholesale prices down with it. According to Kantar data published on the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board website, the volume of lamb legs sold via retail channels was down 27% versus last year through August-October. Up until mid-October exporters were getting £5.90/kg on average for CKT legs, but that price has dropped 19% since as of last week.
This article was written by AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick. Reece’s reports provide key insights into what makes our sheep and beef markets tick. Subscribe to AgriHQ reports here.