Fresh turkey decline speeds up as Christmas approaches

Fresh turkey sales have been falling at a faster rate than in previous quarterly periods, according to 12-week figures just released by Kantar, against a backdrop of strong fish sales growth.

It now remains to be seen whether turkeys decline will be arrested by the usual uplift immediately pre-Christmas.

Kantar Worldpanel business unit director for meat, fish & poultry Nathan Ward said fresh turkeys value decline was accelerating at an unexpected time of the year. It fell 7.8% year-on-year in the 12 weeks to 6 November to 27m.

By contrast, in traditional meat & poultry categories, chicken value sales grew slightly during the period by 0.4% to 435.8m. Volume growth in chicken was even stronger, up 8.9% to 111.4t. Other poultry grew by 1.4% to 15m, although volume sales fell by 5.1%.

Value sales of all other major meat categories fell. Beef slid down by 1.8%, lamb by 8.2%, pork by 13.6% and other red meat by 24.7%. Overall, fresh primary meat and poultry sales shrank by 3.6% to 1.2bn, although volumes rose by 2.3% to 232.6t. In volume terms, beef sales also grew by 3.1% to 63.8t.

Pork, lamb and turkey are all seeing volume losses despite falling prices in these categories, as shoppers buy them less often, said Ward. At the same time, pork and lamb are also seeing over 300,000 fewer shoppers buying them, further driving down sales.

Fresh beef has moved back into growth, with more shoppers buying more frequently. Steak and mince are the key drivers of volume, with roasts moving back into growth after a depressed autumn period.

In fresh processed meat & poultry, poultry was the only real winner in value terms, up 1.4% to 353.5m.

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

12 weeks to 06/11/16

Year-on year change

12 weeks to 06/11/16

Year-on- year change

millions

%

Tonnes

%

Fresh Primary Meat & Poultry

1,244.4

-3.6

232.6

2.3

Beef

483.1

-1.8

63.8

3.1

Lamb

124.2

-8.2

14.6

-9.0

Pork

154.5

-13.6

35.1

-9.0

Chicken

435.8

0.4

111.4

8.9

Turkey

27.0

-7.8

4.4

-4.0

Other Red Meat

4.8

-24.7

0.7

-38.0

Other Poultry

15.0

1.2

2.4

-5.1

Fresh Processed Meat & Poultry

808.8

-1.7

139.5

1.5

Bacon

248.3

-6.4

44.8

2.7

Sausages

143.3

-0.9

32.6

2.4

Burgers & Grills

63.7

-1.3

10.1

-0.2

Fresh Processed Poultry

353.5

1.4

52.0

0.2

Sliced Cooked Meat

481.9

-0.4

53.4

-0.4

Chilled Fish

402.5

8.3

36.2

4.9

Added Value Products

102.6

11.3

10.8

10.5

Battered

4.1

13.1

0.4

16.3

Breaded

26.1

-0.2

3.5

-2.2

Natural

148.0

6.3

12.3

-0.3

Shellfish

52.4

14.8

4.3

15.2

Smoked

69.2

6.9

4.9

3.3

Value sales of fresh processed meat & poultry dropped by 1.7% to 808.8m, comparing the period with the same period last year. However, in volume terms the picture was rosier, with three out of four of the main categories all growing and burgers and grills broadly flat, down just 0.2%.

Promotions are a key driver of growth, with promotional volumes up 10% on last year, as TPRs [temporary price reductions] dominate promotions, said Ward.

Chicken remains the category to beat in terms of volume growth and has moved into value growth this period. Roasts, particularly whole birds, have come back to growth in the latest period, whilst legs and breasts continue to show strong shopper-led growth.

That said, the runaway success story in protein has been the strong growth in chilled fish, up 4.9% in volume to 36.2t and 8.3% in value to 402.5m.

Volume growth has been driven by added value products (up 10.5%). Battered fish and shellfish also achieved powerful double digit volume growth, although from small bases.

In value terms, every chilled fish category clocked up sales increases except breaded products, which remained broadly flat. Value sales were again driven by added value products, up 11.3% to 102.6m, as well as natural products, up 6.3% to 148m.

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