Fresh beef, fish and pork all prospered in the four weeks to December 27 as UK consumers celebrated Christmas under tight restrictions – up collectively by £70 million (€80.9m) compared with the same period last year. 

The latest retail figures from Kantar for the 12 weeks to December 27, showed that meat sales were up 15% year-on-year to 295,800 tonnes.

Fresh turkey remained key for the Christmas period, despite being hampered by shoppers seeking out smaller cuts – and commanded 16% share of meat and poultry sales in the same four-week period. But its growth was modest at 3.8% compared to the fresh meat and poultry average of 13.3%. 

Beef roasts recorded spend share gains in festive cuts for the second successive Christmas – attracting 120,000kg of sales away from turkey. Fresh pork saw 17.5% growth compared with last year, driven by one million more shoppers – with frying and grilling cuts contributing strongly, along with roasting cuts which grew at 19.3%.

Michelle Coggin, Kantar’s consumer insight director explained: “Smaller households have been key to driving the growth in fresh fish and beef. Whole bird turkeys suffered as a result, with shoppers searching out smaller cuts for the heart of their meals this Christmas. 

“A quarter of a million more one-person-households bought a beef joint in December with over half a million more picking up fresh fish compared to last year. Now we have broken with tradition the key to performance next Christmas will be the extent to which we carry these new habits with us.”

A further disruptor to traditional Christmas behaviour came from chilled meat-free lines; which saw 60% growth in the four weeks to December 27.

Meat sales by type

For the 12 weeks to December 27, meat sales were up 15% year-on-year.

Key highlights included:
Fresh beef (volume)                +12.9%
Fresh lamb (volume)              +14.7%
Fresh pork (volume)               +13.9%
Fresh chicken (volume)          +11.4%
Fresh turkey (volume)            +13.1%
Chilled fish (volume)              +10.8%

Fresh beef (value)                   +15.0%
Fresh lamb (value)                  +15.3%
Fresh pork (value)                  +19.0%
Fresh chicken (value)             +17.5%
Fresh turkey (value)                +14.9%
Chilled fish (value)                 +15.8%

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