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Research guide

Published: 14 Oct 2019 Updated: 02 Dec 2022 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

Online articles

The library provides full access to articles from leading business, finance and management journals.

Access to articles is provided subject to suppliers’ terms of use.

Useful links

Brexit impact report
March 2021 report from the British Meat Processors Association, examining the impact of the first three months of trading with the EU as a third country. The report seeks to differentiate between 'teething problems' and more serious impediments to trade that are affecting British companies.

Butcher: Sector trends
Overview of recent developments in the butchers sector including the increasing influence of large supermarket chains and changing meat consumption patterns. Part of the Sectors Donut for Butchers published by Atom Content Marketing.

Can Britain’s butchers survive the vegan boom?
Article discussing the pressures facing independent butchers and how some in the trade are meeting the challenge. Published by the Guardian on 19 January 2019.

Online butchers could cut in on grocery meat sales
Article published by Grocery Dive on the rise of online meat sellers in the US. Published on 13 March 2018.

Securing the future of our independent butchers’ sector
Report published by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in March 2015 providing an overview of the independent butchers sector in the UK. Includes challenges and opportunities for independent butchers and a sector outlook.

Market research

Market research reports focusing on this business sector are available from a number of market research specialists. In most cases these reports are available to fee-paying subscribers or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Industry profiles and SWOT analyses

Industry profiles give an overview of market size in different countries or regions, the competitive landscape and provide a forecast of market performance. These profiles are available for ICAEW members and ACA students through the Library & Information Service.

Reports are available on the food and drink sector as a whole, and, for some countries and regions, the meat industry specifically. 



Latin America

North America


If you’re looking for industry profiles for regions or countries not listed above, please contact the Library on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

SWOT analyses examining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for major companies operating in this sector are available.

If you experience any problems accessing these resources, please see our online resources troubleshooting FAQ.

Other market research specialists

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

A full listing of reference products and research reports for the fresh meat industry from Euromonitor, with a range of global and country level reports. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors, including meat and meat product retailing. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports

A full listing of reports covering the food sector including meat. The website includes a short summary and the option to view a contents listing for each report.

Industry news

Need to find the latest news on this industry sector? We can carry out industry news searches using a range of trade titles and general business sources through our databases. To discuss your requirements, please contact the enquiry team on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or at library@icaew.com.

Statistics on the UK

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment – average during the year;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Processing and preserving of meat (10.11)
    See Section C: Manufacturing
  • Processing and preserving of poultry meat (10.12)
    See Section C: Manufacturing
  • Production of meat and poultry meat products (10.13)
    See Section C: Manufacturing
  • Wholesale of meat and meat products (46.32)
    See Division 46: Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • Retail sale of meat and meat products in specialised stores (47.22)
    See Division 47: Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)

Data on the size and scale of the independent butchers sector is contained in the report Role and value of independent butchers in England. Includes the number of firms, total employment, total turnover and gross value added. The different locations in which butchers operate and any notable differences in economic performance between locations is also examined. Published by AHDB Beef and Lamb in 2016.

Data on the UK beef and sheep sectors is available from AHDB Beef and Lamb's statistics section including information on GB household beef and lamp consumption.

AHDB Pork's prices and statistics section provides a range of data on the UK and EU pig industry. Includes regularly updated statistics on GB, UK and EU pig meat consumption and retail sales.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS)

The Scottish Red Meat Industry Profile 2019, published by Quality Meat Scotland, provides information on the red meat sector including retail prices and consumption.

Statistics on Europe


Eurostat, the EU statistics hub, collates detailed Structural Business Statistics giving the latest figures for industry, construction, trade and services by sector and country. The indicators available include:

  • number of enterprises
  • turnover or gross premiums written
  • production value
  • value added at factor cost
  • gross operating surplus
  • wages and salaries
  • social security costs
  • gross investment in tangible goods
  • gross investment in land
  • gross investment in existing buildings and structures
  • gross investment in construction and alteration of buildings
  • gross investment in machinery and equipment
  • number of employees
  • number of persons employed per enterprise.

Statistics within the database are available for:

  • Processing and preserving of meat (C1011)
    See database section ‘SBS - industry and construction
  • Processing and preserving of poultry meat (C1012)
    See database section ‘SBS - industry and construction
  • Production of meat and poultry meat products (C1013)
    See database section ‘SBS - industry and construction
  • Wholesale of meat and meat products (G4632)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’
  • Retail sale of meat and meat products in specialised stores (G4722)
    See database section ‘SBS – trade’


Office for National Statistics

Average employment costs within this sector are available from Table 14 of the Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for butchers

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation

Food and drink businesses: working with the EU
Guidance from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs for food and drink businesses on working with the EU from January 2021. Areas covered include food labelling, importing and exporting, marketing standards, non-harmonised food products, employees and data protection.

Seafood and meat exports to the EU
April 2021 report from the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. Areas considered include how the TCA has affected seafood and meat exporters to date, the effect on the market for British exports, the longer-term structural issues that now affect businesses and how some of these barriers to trade might be reduced.

Webinars for exporters of products of animal origin, live animals, plants and plant products to the EU
Free webinars presented by Defra on what businesses need to do to export products of animal origin (POAO) such as meat, dairy and fish, live animals, plants and plant products from Britain to the EU.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

See import and export information for:

UK business guides

Croner-i Business Focus

Business Focus is a resource that provides practical information on many small business trades and sectors. Its Business Opportunity Profiles offer detailed insights into market conditions, legal issues and the trading environment for a range of businesses. These include:

  • Butcher's shop

Mini Business Opportunity Profiles are also available and provide a general introduction to more niche business areas, including:

  • Halal butcher

To find out more about Business Focus, please contact our enquiry team on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or at library@icaew.com.

Atom Content Marketing guides

The Start Up Donut from Atom Content Marketing provides practical information on starting up and running a number of small business types. Guides cover a range of areas including market research, current trends, regulations, products and services, promotion and pricing. They include:

UK key players, ratios and trends

We can produce reports on this sector using selected information from the FAME company database. Reports are available for:

  • Processing and preserving of meat
    UK SIC (2007) Code 10.11
  • Processing and preserving of poultry meat
    UK SIC (2007) Code 10.12
  • Production of meat and poultry meat products
    UK SIC (2007) Code 10.13
  • Wholesale of meat and meat products
    UK SIC (2007) Code 46.32
  • Retail sale of meat and meat products in specialised stores
    UK SIC (2007) Code 47.22

Summaries of the three types of report we can produce are given below. You can find further information, a sample report, pricing details and an online order form on our industry sector reports page.

We also operate a bespoke reports service with results tailored to your specifications. Please contact our enquiry team on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or at library@icaew.com to discuss your requirements.

Key players report

Our key players report looks at the top companies (by turnover) in any one of the segments within this sector. Reports usually include the top 100 companies but in more specialised sectors with fewer than 100 companies we show all companies with disclosed figures. The reports provide data on 11 comparative fields for the last available year, including:

  • turnover;
  • profit margins;
  • returns on shareholder funds;
  • solvency ratios
  • number of employees.

Our reports enable easy comparison of the top companies in this sector against each other and against the sector median, average and standard deviation in each of the 11 fields.

Mailing list

A separate mailing list report is also available with address and contact details for the top companies in any of the segments within this sector.

Market reports

Our market reports look at the aggregated data for the top companies (by turnover) for any of the segments within this sector across all the fields usually found in a company report. The reports include data for the last 10 years* and enables easy comparison of trends for the whole sector. Reports usually include the top 100 companies but in more specialised sectors with fewer than 100 companies we show all companies with disclosed figures.

*Please note the number of companies for which data is aggregated will vary for any given year.

The market reports include sections on:

  • key financials and employees;
  • profit and loss account;
  • balance sheet;
  • cash flow statement;
  • financial ratios;
  • financial trends and changes;
  • profitability trends and changes.

UK benchmarking

We offer benchmarking reports that can be used to inform your own business strategy or help you identify value-added services to offer to your clients.

Contact the enquiry team directly on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or at library@icaew.com for a report tailored to your own specific requirements.

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Trade bodies

The websites of trade bodies and other organisations in this sector are a useful source of industry overviews, contacts and statistics.



UECBV provides a list of its member organisations. Includes livestock and meat industry organisations in the European Union and also Japan, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine.

North America

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

Can't find what you're looking for?

The ICAEW Library can give you the right information from trustworthy, professional sources that aren't freely available online. Contact us for expert help with your enquiries and research.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this Business & Industry Guide is correct. However, the content of websites changes frequently and users should satisfy themselves that the information they contain is suitable for the purposes for which they wish to use it. We would be grateful to receive notification of any broken links at library@icaew.com.


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