Christmas supermarket sales report shows that consumers value convenience

Feb 22 2017

An in-depth report into meat and grocery sales over the Christmas and New Year period has shown that convenience is king, even during the festive season.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is currently partnering with consumer research specialists Kantar Worldpanel to establish the key future market opportunities for beef, lamb and pork from Wales.

For the four weeks leading up to the beginning of January 2017 Kantar Worldpanel’s research, based on a sample of 11,000 consumers, shows that three-quarters of people still make their big Christmas food shop in one of the ‘big four’ supermarkets, although other retailers – particularly in the discount sector – are catching up.

Overall consumer spending on Christmas groceries was £500 million more than the previous year, although some of the increase was due to rising prices, and to people splashing out more on alcohol.

In terms of sales of roast meats, 2016 saw a reversion to the traditional turkey and gammon. The previous year, special promotions had driven up sales of alternative options such as beef and lamb.

But, in a finding which echoes HCC and Kantar’s broader findings on the meat sector, convenient ‘Ready to Cook’ options for smaller meals continued to see strong growth across the different meat categories.

“Although the consumption of lamb roasting joints was down in December 2016 as compared with the previous bumper year when it was boosted by one-off promotions, it is noticeable that lamb saw continued growth among some younger customers,” said HCC’s Market Development Executive Sue Franklin. “Also, it’s interesting to note that a discounter which made a major new commitment last autumn to sourcing PGI Welsh Lamb saw the greatest percentage growth in total sales of fresh meat of any multiple retailer.”

“The main conclusion from the Kantar Worldpanel data is that customers, even at Christmas time, value convenience,” added Sue. “It’s vital that the Welsh red meat industry is in a position to provide smaller cuts for smaller occasions – meals for between one and three people – as well as versatile cuts and oven-ready convenience options. HCC’s discussions with retailers and processors over the coming months will focus very strongly on these opportunities to improve returns for the whole Welsh red meat sector.”

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