Despite lower demand for meat this year, butchers will need to import lambs from Greece to cover demand, the butchers’ association said on Monday.

Association head Costas Levadiotis told Sigma TV that a small fall in demand for certain meats, such as beef and turkey, was expected after prices rose by 30 per cent, but added that it is still quite high as Cypriots love meat.

Demand is the highest between December 15 and 31, he said, with around 40,000 to 45,000 lambs slaughtered during this time.

“I know that at the moment, 25,000 lambs are available for purchase, but these will be supplemented with 10,000, 15,000 that will be imported from Greece,” he said.

Levadiotis pointed out that meat is a centerpiece on the Cypriot Christmas table, which means that people are still buying, choosing instead to make small changes to cut costs.

As an example, he said that many are switching from turkey to chicken, with demand for turkeys halving in recent years.

“Where on average we used to sell 100,000 turkeys around this time, now this has fallen to 50,000,” he said.

He concluded that as living costs rise, food remains a constant as a source of joy which could explain why demand has not fallen dramatically.