Introduction to the challenge addressed
The observatory provides up-to-date information on prices across Europe, along with some market analysis. Representation by relevant member organisations from primary producers to retail, and including industry and trade, provides a useful forum for analysis on the operation of beef supply chains and market dynamics.
Description of Innovation
Poor information flow, lack of transparency and poor communication between different actors in the beef supply can generate mistrust and suspicions for profiteering further down the chain. While prices are difficult to access for a range of reasons including commercial sensitivity, the task of the Meat Market Observatory is to foster transparency in the meat sector of the European Union by disseminating market data and short-term analysis in a timely manner. Additionally it is to take stock of market developments, and highlight and assess the current market situation for the sake of economic operators and the Commission services. In addition to the website, the Observatory has an Economic Board Expert Group, which meets at least three times a year. The interests of industry, SMEs, agriculture, consumer affairs and others are taken care of through representation of stakeholders within the group. Within the Beef and veal subgroup, CILTRAVI, EuroCommerce, Cocega, ECVC, CEJA, COPA and EUCBV ensure representation of diverse interests.
Impact on farm performance
This innovation can enhance market transparency but more importantly it can alert the European Commission to supply chain and market issues. It may be of limited use to individual farmers given the consolidation of data from multiple sources. This suggests there may be a need to localise some of the information. The Beef PriceWatch App developed by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), provides information on the average price paid for animals in 24 DAFM approved meat factories. Moreover, a click on the representative prices presented in the app initally providde detailed information, at factory level, for prices across the entire 15x15 beef carcass classification grid.
The provision of evidence that animals of a particular specification obtain higher prices may provide incentives to improve production efficency and meat quality.