Positive signs in Europe

There are positive signs in Europe for New Zealand lamb, beef and venison meats and co-products according to Silver Fern Farms which has finalised its plans for Christmas chilled lamb sales and completed its overall sales plan for 2012/2013 with positive outcomes, it says.

The company’s sales teams have been active in Europe over the past two weeks, culminating in the European food fair SIAL in Paris last weekend.

“Working with our Aalst office team in Belgium, we have met and concluded business with many European customers who appear to have regained confidence based on supply and stability of value, which is underpinning the overall market sentiment from European customers,” says chief executive Keith Cooper.

For general manager sales and marketing Glenn Tyrrell, this early confidence is a healthy sign. “It will likely lead to sustained demand and relising on food service delivery cards, something which has been lacking lately due to the price hike in 2011,” he says.

In the UK, Marks and Spencer (M&S) recently put up their annual six month supply of chilled NZ lamb for sole tender. “As we could not offer organic lamb to M&S, the Alliance Group picked up this tender. While unfortunate, given the effort from both Silver Fern Farms and suppliers who have supported M&S for the last five years, our priority is to maximise organic and overall chilled supply to Tesco which has fully supported development of our branded retail packs in their store,” says Tyrrell.

Silver Fern Farms continues to be optimistic on beef with a prediction for schedule prices to farmers of $3.60 a kg during the season heading to $4.20 per kg, according to Cooper. “Venison is forecast to track up from a low of $6.70-8.00 per kg next October and lamb is likely to bottom out at peak season post-Christmas at $4.80 per kg and will progressively build to $5.80 per kg this time next year,” he says.

“It is clear the European market cannot be taken for granted,” comments Cooper. “Market forces over 2011/2012 saw a downturn in sales and a major price correction, in market and at farm gate. Now this has passed, many customers are looking to relist products but they are also looking for marketing support and price stability. These opportunities fit particularly well with Silver Fern Farms’ strategy of creating value in the way of a truly integrated value chain – linking consumers to farmer suppliers.”


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