Operators ordering essential seasonal produce such as turkeys have room for negotiation with suppliers thanks to lower costs this year, advises buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.
‘Hold your nerve’ is a key message in the newly-published Autumn 2015 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast. Lynx managing director John Pinder said, “Most hotels, restaurants and pubs have their Christmas menus in place by now and hopefully, bookings starting to fill the December diary.
“The temptation is to agree the prices being quoted by wholesalers and suppliers in order to secure supplies of core festive menu items. However, with inflation low, and producers benefiting from lower feed and transport costs, we think there’s definitely scope for some old-fashioned haggling.
“Understandably, suppliers tend to hold back some of the savings they make when margins are good in order to balance the bad times. Nobody begrudges farmers and food producers the chance to make a little more in the current market, but it’s important to remember that operators also take a margin hit when costs are high.
“In the current market, it’s only fair that producers, wholesalers and operators spread the upside and each take their share of the opportunity presented by good quality, price and availability on Christmas turkeys, as well as other seasonal menu staples such as ham and smoked salmon.”
Good value menu options for Christmas 2015 highlighted in the latest Market Forecast include:
- Turkey: The cost of producing a 5.5kg turkey has fallen by around 4% this year, due both to significantly lower feed costs, with stocks of both wheat and soya high, and lower fuel costs. Trade butchers also report that, with demand high for turkey breasts rather than whole birds, caterers able to use other cuts will be able to get very good prices.
- Pork: All pork cuts represent a great option for autumn and winter, with prices flat and ample supply expected going forward. Seasonal dishes such as spiced ham and gammon will be very cost effective options on Christmas menus.
- Salmon: Salmon prices will remain stable through the rest of the year due to plentiful supply as the Russian embargo on European produce continues, making smoked salmon an excellent option for both sit down menus and buffets.
However, the picture is less rosy on another mainstay of seasonal menus, beef, due to a number of factors. Global demand continues to grow, while UK retailers keen to secure available supplies are often wiling to subsidise the price paid by their customers. “The catering sector should expect the price of beef to continue to rise, and look at better value options such as pork and lamb, as well as fresh fish,” says Pinder.
“As ever, operators who can keep their menus flexible and work with suppliers to feature the best value produce will see the biggest benefits. That will be particularly important once we get in 2016. The first month or so of the New Year is always challenging for operators, and while none of us know what’s around the corner, we shouldn’t expect the current beneficial market conditions to last.”
The Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast combines official inflation data with exclusive insight from across the range of suppliers Lynx works with. A FREE copy of the Autumn 2015 edition can be downloaded at Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast Autumn 2015.
Lynx Purchasing works with more than 2200 businesses including hotels, pubs, restaurants, healthcare and education providers. Lynx offers access to the best prices in the market, with no fees or contracts. Lynx customers also benefit from detailed market insight, enabling them to plan menus more effectively.