A move by retailer Tesco to help UK and Irish beef farmers by taking top-quality steaks destined for now shut high street restaurants are proving a major success with shoppers.

The closure of restaurants and pubs because of COVID-19 hit beef farmers across the UK and Ireland and left many with surplus stock that they were finding hard to shift.

For stricken beef processors, the best solution would have been to freeze the meat but that would have seriously devalued their stock.

After hearing about the dilemma Tesco offered to help suppliers and since putting these cuts of beef on discounted sale has seen demand for steaks rocket by 40% on the same time last year.

Tesco Beef and Speciality Meat Buying Manager Becky Huxter said: “The move has not only helped beef farmers and processors across the UK and Ireland but has also given shoppers a taste of luxury for less than they would normally pay. With restaurants and pubs closed since lockdown began many shoppers have been trading up and treating themselves to some of the foodie luxuries, they might have eaten had they been going out to dine. Having the extra supplies has also meant that we have been able to meet the additional demand which was boosted by the warmest spring on record and a clamor for BBQ foods.”

To highlight the meat offer Tesco worked with one of the UK and Ireland’s biggest beef processors, Foyle Food Group, to create an exclusive new brand called The Meat Folk which features three lines of two-pack steaks with choices of either rump (£5), sirloin (£6) or fillet (£7).

Karen Kelso, Group Commercial Director at Foyle Food Group said: “The shutdown in the foodservice and hospitality industry dealt a serious blow to British food processors and suppliers and for us meant no other outlet for steak meat sales.

“The Meat Folk brand has provided nearly a million plates of steak for shoppers which would have otherwise ended up in lower value cuts.  

“Foyle Food Group and our farmers are proud to work with Tesco in sustaining the future for the British and Irish beef industry.”

At the same time, the supermarket increased its steak orders to help out the other UK and Irish beef suppliers who had been left with surplus stock. In order to create demand for the other extra steaks it is now taking, Tesco has put a 2 for £7 offer on its rump, sirloin and rib-eye cuts.