Pork helps 2017 to a bumper Christmas

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Improved pork sales contributed to shoppers spending £1bn more than last year on their total groceries at Christmas.

Volume and value both grew ahead of the market, although the category was still affected by inflation. Growth was driven by shoppers taking 1.75m more trips, with steaks, leg joints and mince driving volume growth, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel.

In the 12 weeks ending 31st December, value and volume sales of fresh and frozen pork grew by 6% and 1% respectively year on year. In the same period, Bacon (+5% in value) and sausages (+6%) both continued to grow, with the Christmas weeks providing a boost. This was driven by people who likely added them as extras to their Christmas dinner or for cooked breakfasts over the festive period. After two years of strong growth, Gammon sales did not increase much in 2017. While the premium tier grew, it was due to purchases of slightly smaller joints.

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There were three main themes to shopping patterns in the holiday period. Firstly, people shopped around more looking for value, making comparisons between different retailers rather than comparisons with last year. Secondly, stores tried a wider range of promotions to attract customers, although there was a general fall in the number of coupons available. To do this, all the major stores focussed on trying to attract the “big shop”, the visit where items for the main Christmas lunch are typically all purchased together. Finally, there was slightly more scratch cooking this year too, with convenience playing a less important role than at other times of year (except perhaps for potatoes), which also helped the sales of fresh unprocessed meat.

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Duncan Wyatt, Lead Analyst

duncan.wyatt@ahdb.org.uk  0247 647 8856