Supermarkets benefiting most as Aussies buy more meat

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers are still buying meat from butchers despite an increase in sales by supermarkets
Consumers are still buying meat from butchers despite an increase in sales by supermarkets

Related tags Grocery store Roy morgan research

The Australian butcher is safe in spite of growing competition from supermarkets, as consumers continue to buy meat from speciality retailers, especially in cities.

Fresh meat is still central to most Australian diets. And while supermarkets are the top source for fresh meat throughout the country, new research reveals that city dwellers are more likely than rural residents to buy their meat at butchers, markets and delicatessens.

More meat

Geoffrey Smith of Roy Morgan Research, which conducted the study, explained: “More Australians are buying fresh meat in any given seven-day period now than they were just a few years ago, and supermarkets appear to be benefitting most from this trend​.

While our data shows that people living in capital cities shop for meat in a wider range of stores than country residents, the percentage doing so has remained relatively stable since 2010, whereas purchasing fresh meat at the supermarket has become more popular – as it has among rural shoppers, too​.”

In the year to June, around three-quarters of grocery-buyers bought fresh meat in an average week, up slightly on a similar study from 2010.

But while 65% of country shoppers buy fresh meat at the supermarket, compared to 56% in capital cities, the latter shoppers are more likely to diversify. More city shoppers buy meat at a butcher’s (23% compared to 20% of those in the country), while 3% buy from markets and just over 2% go to delicatessens for their cuts. These figures have changed little over the last five years.

Supermarket charge

On the other hand, the proportion of country and city shoppers buying fresh meat from supermarkets has grown. In the year to June 2010, 59% of shoppers from the country and 53% of those based in the city bought fresh meat from supermarkets in an average seven-day period—noticeably lower than the current figures.

Obviously, someone living in the country has less choice as to where they buy their fresh meat, and so supermarkets may simply be their easiest, or only option. But this doesn’t explain the growing proportion of city shoppers opting to buy their meat at the supermarket despite a plethora of specialist butchers, delis and markets to choose from​.

Even at supermarket level, there are differences between country and city residents: the former are more likely to buy their fresh meat from Woolworths, IGA and Aldi supermarkets, while the latter are more likely to get it from Coles or Foodland. Indeed, this tends to be the pattern for all fresh produce categories, including fruit and vegetables, bread, deli items and seafood.​”

Related topics Markets Oceania Industry growth Meat

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