Premium demand drives festive meat and poultry sales

Strong fresh processed meat and poultry sales and a push for ‘premium’ products helped deliver the biggest Christmas ever for the grocery sector, latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel have revealed. 

Bacon, sausages, burgers and grills and fresh processed poultry all demonstrated solid value and volume growth, according to the data, which covered the 12 weeks to 31 December.

Sales of sausages rose by 6%, bacon was up 4.7% and fresh processed poultry jumped 6.9%, with volumes rising 2.7%, 2.3% and 3.6% respectively.

“We know that this is driven by people being likely to add them as extras to their Christmas dinner or eat more cooked breakfasts over the long Christmas weekends,” said Nathan Ward, Kantar’s business unit director for meat, fish and poultry.

Although sliced cooked meats and chilled fish both struggled in terms of volume (-0.1% and -4.5%), value sales increased on the previous year.

Elsewhere, the fresh primary meat and poultry market – encompassing beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, other red meat and other poultry – also fared well, with overall sales up 1.9% YOY and a volume increase of 0.9%

Pork, one of the top 10 markets affected by inflation, saw sales rise by 6.3% and volume increase by 1.5%.

Kantar said growth had been driven by shoppers taking 1.75million more trips, with steaks, leg joints and mince driving volume growth, while fresh chicken continued to be one of the strongest deflationary markets, with falling prices in breast, legs and whole birds bringing average prices down by 3%.

Ward added: “Shoppers traditionally trade up at Christmas, whether through their choice of retailer or by choosing more premium products. Turkey performed well over the Christmas period; even after a strong 2016, 184,000 more shopping trips included turkey this year and the average trip cost 40p more. Whole birds and crowns enjoyed growth on last year as shoppers continued to pick up the classic choice for Christmas dinner.”

December, traditionally a month of higher sales for smoked salmon, saw value rise, but volumes were slightly down in the face of higher prices driven by inflation.

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