Price inflation tempers pork demand
Volumes of fresh and frozen pork sold by UK retailers in the 12 weeks ending 21 May fell by 1.3%.
It has been something of a challenging year for the segment so far where volume is concerned, according to data provided by Kantar Worldpanel. However, total spend was up by 1.6%, reflecting price inflation which has been seen across all red meats, as consumers start to feel the pinch. Fresh and frozen pork saw prices rise 2.9% year on year.
The onset of bbq season can result in some changes in pork demand. Roasting joints have suffered accordingly, particularly shoulders (sales down 24%) and again not helped by the fact that these cuts have also seen the greatest rise in prices. Sausages have been selling well, 1.3% higher despite being 2.1% more expensive. Perhaps encouraged to bbq by the drier weather in the period running up to 21 May, shoppers have been making bigger trips, although retailers have also felt a reduced need for promotions. Bacon prices have hardly changed and they too have performed relatively well, with sales up 2.3%. The largest single sector by value is sliced, cooked meats, which is one of the few areas where prices have actually fallen and has seen increases in both sales volume (3.2%) and value (1.5%).
The popularity of chicken continues to increase and it is this protein that is putting demand for red meat under the most sustained pressure. There was an increase in the number of trips made by consumers to buy chicken. Against a background of broad price inflation, prices for chicken have dropped, particularly for whole birds (down 8.2%), which has encouraged consumers to switch into the meat despite a fall in promotions.
Although the most recent weekend saw very warm weather across the UK, up until that point during the survey period the weather hadn’t been so great, and in particular wasn’t particularly kind to National BBQ Week. We’ll have to wait and see if it was enough to dampen enthusiasm for pork sausages, or if the following heat wave put a fire under demand.
AHDB Market Intelligence
Phone: +44 (0)24 7647 8856