Pork sales suffer over Christmas
Following a successful Christmas the year before, sales of most pig meat categories were lower over the festive period.
Grocery expenditure was up 1.5% this Christmas, boosted by a fall in prices that meant shoppers took advantage by stocking up on volume over the festive period. Retailers drove the lower end of the price tier market through price cuts but trading-up was a key feature this year. Following a successful Christmas the year before, fresh pork was the only meat category to show a fall in volume purchases this year, down by 2% on last year, with consumers switching to other meats, particularly beef and turkey. The latest Kantar Worldpanel data, covering the 4 weeks to 4 January, indicate that consumers bought less fresh pork less frequently over the Christmas period.
Most of the decline was derived from falling sales of leg and loin roasting joints, although both showed higher sales in premium-tiered categories, albeit from a small base. Volume sales of shoulder joints increased on the year, driven by promotional activity from one of the Big 4, though others also showed an increase in sales. Sales of pork belly over the Christmas season also increased year-on-year in volume terms, with much of this growth coming the hard discounters. Sales of bacon (including gammon) and ham were also lower than a year before in volume terms, although spending on bacon was up 1% as a result of higher prices. Sausages fared slightly better, with a small rise in sales.
A more detailed analysis of the Christmas retail market will be available in the February edition of Pig Market Trends.