Romantic Brits planned £6bn Valentine’s Day spend

UK consumers were set to splash out £6 billion on Valentine’s Day, with slap-up meals topping the bill, and a quarter of those who were planning to stay in set to cook steak.

That’s according to a study of 1,000 UK adults, commissioned by National Butchers’ Week ahead of its annual celebrations between March 13 and 19. The research found that more than one in four couples (27.9%) would be staying in for a home-cooked meal, with age-old favourites dominating the nation’s menus.

Steak was set to be served by more than one in four of those staying in, while one in 15 home-stayers were planning to celebrate their love with a traditional roast. Curry was going to be on the home-cooked menu for one in 20, while Italian-inspired meals such as pizza, spaghetti bolognese and lasagne were among the other most-cited Valentine’s dishes for enjoying at home.

Meanwhile, when it came to starters, seasoned favourites prawn cocktail and avocado with prawns were planned for one in 10 Valentine’s home menus. However, oysters – oft proclaimed to be the food of love – would only feature for one in 40 couples staying in.

Only one in 20 of the couples staying in for food said they would be toasting their love with Champagne, while the cheaper alternative of Prosecco would be chilling on ice for one in 12.

Of all those surveyed, one in five said they would be taking their partner out for food, one in nine said they would be ordering a takeaway. A similar number revealed their Valentine’s celebrations would involve a visit to the theatre or cinema. Having an early night, running a bath and lighting candles were among the other most popular responses.

In a sign of changing times, cards looked set to be shared by just over one in three couples this year. One in 10 Valentiners planned to celebrate by sending a text message and one in 20 planned either to proclaim their love by phone or by a message on social media.

Yet despite an apparent change in attitudes to how the day should be celebrated, more than a quarter of men surveyed planned to maintain the time-honoured practice of sending or giving flowers. One in seven said they would be giving chocolates, although just one in 15 claimed they would stick with the perennial Valentine’s cliché of gifting their partner sexy underwear.

On average, couples estimated they would spend more than £185 between them on food, flowers, chocolates and all the trappings that go into ensuring a day of heartfelt celebrations.

According to the study, men would be the biggest spenders, digging deep to spend an average of £117.13 on their loved one, while women’s spending was set to be a more modest £68.52.

Younger lovers looked likely to be among the biggest spenders. Those aged 18-24 planned to spend an average of £110.71 on Valentine’s Day, compared with an average spend of just £49.94 for 25- to 34-year-olds, and £83.77 for 35- to 44-year-olds.

However, the biggest spenders were likely to be in the 45- to 54-year-old age bracket with respondents claiming they had earmarked an average of £122.88 for their annual celebration of love, while over-55s were planning to spend an average of £97.40.

There was also found to be a likely significant spending gap between the regions. Londoners claimed they would be forking out an average of £240.09 on this year’s event, while those living in Wales said they would be sticking to a much more modest average spend of £42.28.

Commenting on the findings, Rod Addy, editor of Meat Trades Journal, which will be running National Butchers’ Week with the backing of sponsors AHDB Beef & Lamb, Puréety Gourmet Flavours and Scobie & Junor Group, said: “With food at the heart of people’s Valentine’s Day celebrations, it’s the ideal time for people to fall in love with their local butcher ahead of National Butchers’ Week.

“Butchers always see a significant spike in business in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, and it is gratifying to see that favourites like a top-quality steak will very much still be on the menu, while other traditions, such as sending cards, look like they may be falling in popularity.”

National Butchers' Week runs from 13-19 March this year. We are running a product innovation contest. Tell us something you are proud of from your repertoire - either the recipe for a finished dish or an added value product on your counter, with serving suggestion. We will cover a selection online and the overall winner. For more information, or to submit an entry, please contact Join the conversation on social media by ising the hashtag #ButchersGiveYouIdeas

Twitter: @ButchersWeek
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