Retail & E-Commerce

Meat Sales in the Netherlands Decline for Nine Consecutive Quarters

According to new research by ABN AMRO, supermarket sales in the Netherlands have fallen significantly — and the drop is especially notable for meat sales.

Retailers have reportedly seen declining sales of meat products for nine consecutive quarters, with a 13% drop compared to the first quarter of 2019. Higher prices and lower purchasing power are believed to be a major cause of the change.

Sales of dairy and fresh fruit are also down, falling by 6% and 4% respectively compared to 2019. However, fresh vegetables are up 4%. Though supermarket sales are falling on average, this has been offset by rising prices, with consumers now paying a quarter to a third more for food than in 2019. As a result, sales measured in euros have actually increased.

Dutch consumers who were surveyed mentioned that they have changed their eating habits to cope with rising prices, using less meat and more cheap foods such as pasta and potatoes. They are also cutting back on snacking and food waste, along with shopping at discounters and opting for private-label products.

© Biocyclic Vegan Agriculture International

“Times of scarcity”

Meat consumption in the Netherlands has been falling for some time, with research from 2019 suggesting that two in five people were eating less meat.10% of respondents described themselves as vegetarian, and 7% as vegan. At the time, environmental and animal welfare concerns were the biggest motivators for cutting down on meat.

Last year, figures suggested that plant-based meat had become cheaper than conventional meat in the Netherlands. Inflation and high raw material prices had hit animal meat hard, with prices rising by a huge 21% between February and June 2022. Over the same time period, the cost of plant-based meat rose by just 2%.

“Meat has always been a product that requires an enormous amount of raw materials. To make one kilogram of meat, you need up to ten kilograms of grain. Now, in times of scarcity, that takes its toll,” said Pablo Moleman of ProVeg Netherlands. “Due to the large use of raw materials, meat is much more sensitive to disruptions in the world market than meat alternatives. Plant-based meat clearly wins out on efficiency, and we now see that reflected in the price.”

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