Waitrose has launched its biggest ever promotional push on steak products to help its dedicated beef farmers retain full value for their livestock.

The supermarket has recorded a sharp rise in the sale of mince, as customers change their habits and return to weekly shops and batch cooking.

Mince sales are up by 33 per cent year-on-year but demand for steaks is far lower, with the value of beef dropping by as much as 15 per cent across the market according to Waitrose supplier Gary Gray, who rears Aberdeen Angus cattle on his farm near the Norfolk village of Reedham.

Gary said: “I’m very fortunate, as Waitrose’s dedicated processor commits to buying whole carcasses directly from its farmers, as opposed to just buying what they want at auction. This guarantees excellent quality and minimum waste, and gives us reassurance that we’ll sell a set amount each month.

“However, the price of our meat is ultimately dependent on the national average, and sadly this has nosedived since the lockdown. In order to ensure that homegrown beef is sustainable in the long-term, it’s absolutely key that people vary what kind of meat they eat.”

Generally, around 40 per cent of a beef carcass is normally turned into mince.

Since the lockdown began, across the industry this has increased to two-thirds in some instances, reducing the total value of an animal by up to £300.

In response, Waitrose has launched its biggest ever steak offer, with reductions on selected pre-pack and meat counter products in April, May and June, including sirloin, rib, rump and tomahawk cuts.

Waitrose Partner and beef buyer, Oliver Chadwyck-Healey, said: “By helping customers choose a greater variety of cuts, we not only help them achieve a more balanced diet, we can continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our dedicated British beef farmers and ensure their survival through this challenging time.”

“We encourage the industry to do more to promote the whole carcass and whilst we know that budgets are tighter right now, these offers hopefully provide our customers an affordable way to buy high quality meat that in turn helps them do their bit to support our farmers.”