Volume outstrips value in Christmas meat sales

Volume sales of meat over the Christmas period outgrew value sales as competition between mainstream and discount retailers intensified.

According to IRI Retail Advantage data, 15% more turkey and other fresh poultry (excluding chicken) was sold in Christmas week compared with 2014, but this represented a value increase of just 7.5%.

In the two weeks to 26 December, the unit growth for poultry (excluding chicken) was 9%, but value sales were down -0.4%.

The data also highlighted that the decline in sales of bacon, gammon and sausages continued.

Sales of these traditional accompaniments to Christmas dinner were down 5% in volume terms and 6% in value in the two weeks to 26 December. This decline has been partially attributed to the recent World Health Organization announcement confirming the link between processed meats and cancer.

Bacon was hit the hardest, with sales dropping 11% in Christmas week.

Overall supermarket FMCG sales hit £3.1 billion during Christmas week, an increase of 7.4% in value compared with 2014. Food sales totalled £2.3bn (+8.8%) while non-food sales reached £789m (+3.8%).

Martin Wood, IRI’s head of strategic insight, retail solutions and innovation, said:  “There was an extra peak shopping day in Christmas week 2015 compared with last year, which helped push up the final week’s sales figures, but the level of growth does provide some good news for supermarkets. It shows people are feeling better off at last, as wages rise and fuel prices come down, and also that shoppers have not completely abandoned mainstream retailers for the discounters. Competition with discounters has driven down prices, however, keeping value and revenues down even when volumes are up.”

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