Beef sees Christmas sales rise

Beef sales were on the rise over Christmas, with marketers claiming a victory over turkey competitors as consumers looked for an alternative to the traditional dinner.

Despite freezing conditions, along with the fact Christmas fell on a weekend, beef sales climbed by 12.7% over the period, with customers spending £167.3m on the meat.

In the four weeks to 26 December, fresh meat volume sales overall were up nearly 13% on the same period in 2009, at 28,548t, with expenditure up 11.3%, according to Kantar’s research for Eblex. Roasting joint volume sales were up 6.3%, to 10,583t, while mince was up 15.6% by volume and 13.8% by expenditure.

“The figures are particularly pleasing as the weather was poor, making it more difficult for people to get to the shops, and Christmas fell at a weekend, a time when more people generally have a beef roast anyway which means it is less likely for us to see an additional seasonal spike in beef sales,” said Richard Cullen, category development manager for Eblex. “Despite this, it seems that more people looked for an alternative meat for Christmas dinner, with beef being the favoured choice.

“With the exception of frying/grilling mince, fresh beef sales were ahead of last Christmas across the board.”

The rise came on the back of the Eblex-backed ‘Give the bird a break’ campaign, which saw former England cricketer Darren Gough leading a humorous advertising push to encourage more men to get into the kitchen over Christmas and to make use of beef rather than the more traditional poultry.

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