Lamb legs gain in the run up to Easter
In the run up to the Easter weekend, lamb and beef sales recorded growth in value and volume but this was offset by slight declines in chicken and significant reductions in pork sales.
Fresh meat and poultry sales recorded year on year declines in the 12 weeks ending 26 April 2015, even as the economy continued to recover. However, for the 4 week run up to the Easter weekend, lamb and beef sales recorded growth in value and volume but this was offset by slight declines in chicken and significant reductions in pork sales.
Easter provided some relief for roasting joints, according to Kantar Worldpanel. In the pre-Easter period, fresh roasting joint sales (beef, pork and lamb) were up compared with Easter 2014 in both volume (9%) and value (1%) terms, supported by a higher share of households purchasing these cuts. Lamb leg joints sold particularly well, overtaking beef as the joint with highest spending on it in the run-up to Easter, while only pork leg joints were down compared to last Easter. Year on year Easter growth since 2011 has confirmed the position of lamb as an Easter dish.
While meat and roasting joint prices have risen in recent years, this Easter saw prices fall across all proteins, aided by heavier promotional activity, especially temporary price reductions. Indeed, 80% of spending on lamb leg joints was on promotion this Easter. This put average lamb prices at below Easter 2011 prices, an indicator of ample supply in 2015. Lamb leg prices were around £2/kg below roasting beef prices, a contributing factor to shoppers switching to lamb leg from beef roasting, as well as from whole chickens and pork roasting cuts.
Within pork, leg roasting joints continued to perform poorly at Easter, despite registering the biggest price decrease of any red meat roasting joint. Pressure in particular came from whole chicken price reductions of up to 20% in the Big 4 retailers. In contrast, pork shoulder continued its recent good performance and was up some 13% in volume sales, helped by an increase in levels of promotional activity at Easter.
This overall growth in roasting joint sales was the biggest volume improvement across all red meat cuts, with smaller year-on-year growth evident in stewing cuts and mince, offset by declines in steaks and chops.