August 31, 2021

Kantar has reported that fresh primary meat and poultry struggled to maintain UK shoppers over the 12 weeks to August 8.

The data from Kantar not only continued to compare sales against the big months in 2020, but the removal of restrictions has resulted in more people returning to working in offices and going out for meals, meaning there are a lower number of in-home occasions available to play into. 

Spend on fresh primary meat and poultry declined by 10.1% year-on-year, with beef, pork and lamb all contributing to a €165.7 million loss across the category. The drop in beef and pork was due to fewer Brits buying, coupled with fewer trips. 

Kantar reported that more than half of the drop in beef sales, in the period, came from beef mince, which lost over 900,000 shoppers compared with the same period last year. Lamb’s struggles were again a consequence of falling shopper numbers, where a drop of 12.6% cancelled out a 2% growth in spend per trip. 

Chilled fish, on the other hand, Kantar said, was able to generate growth of 4%, resulting in an uplift of €46.7m. Growth was driven by added value fish, with in excess of 900,000 more shoppers choosing to buy this category over the 12 weeks. 

The latest figures include the first half of May, which was much cooler on average than last year, as well as July and the start of August when the weather was unpredictable. 

This dampened the enthusiasm for summer BBQs and gatherings, and therefore reduced opportunities for sausages, and burgers and grills, which fell by 11.2% and 6% respectively. However, the UK enjoyed a slightly warmer June than last year, which coincided with England’s long run in the European Football Championships, as well as a prolonged period of working from home for many. This resulted in plenty more in-home occasions compared to two years ago, delivering growth across the board for meat, poultry and fish. 

Although spend across fresh processed meat and poultry has seen double-digit growth over the last two years, along with chilled fish, chilled meat free products have achieved the most notable growth. 

Michael Moniz, a Client Manager in Kantar’s meat, fish and poultry team, said: “The category has expanded by 70.4% in that time, with product ranges broadening significantly and gaining in popularity as more people reduce the amount of meat in their diets.

“Fresh meat free has seen accelerated growth in the past couple of years, to the point that one in five Brits now follows a meat reducing diet.

“We’re also approaching the time when kids return to school, and adults return to their regular routines, which will provide masses of lunchbox occasions for sliced cooked meats and other convenience products to play into.”

Meat volume by type

For the 12 weeks to August 8, UK meat sales in the were down 10.1% year-on-year. Key highlights included:

Fresh beef (volume)                -13.3%

Fresh lamb (volume)              -14.4%

Fresh pork (volume)               -10.6%

Fresh chicken (volume)          -7.3%

Fresh turkey (volume)            -14.6%

Chilled fish (volume)              +3.2%

Fresh beef (value)                   -13.3%

Fresh lamb (value)                  -11.2%

Fresh pork (value)                  -13.3%

Fresh chicken (value)             -5.9%

Fresh turkey (value)                -12.4%

Chilled fish (value)                  +4%

As reported by Sial Paris Newsroom, previous data from Kantar painted a similarly concerning picture of the UK meat industry this summer.

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