Food retail sales in the Netherlands grew by 2.5% in value in the first 11 months of 2000, according to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics. Non-food retail sales increased by 5.1%.

The BSE crisis is at last showing an impact on meat sales in the Netherlands. Until recently, sales of beef had not changed significantly in spite of all the publicity surrounding the BSE-problem. However in November and December 2000, sales of meat replacements such as tofu and soya-sausages suddenly rose by 25% compared to the same period in 1999, according to figures from GfK Panelservices Benelux. At the same time, beef sales declined slightly while sales of chicken and pork showed an increase.

GfK concludes that the current episode of the BSE-crisis seems to have more impact on consumer preferences in the Netherlands than all other episodes in the past.

By Karel Beckman, correspondent