August 3, 2021

Kantar has reported that the UK fresh primary meat and poultry category continued to decline across both spend and volume through the 12 weeks ending July 11, 2021, with year-on-year drops of 9.7% and 9.5% respectively, driven by beef and pork. 

Sunshine and good weather, alongside England’s performance in the Euros, helped total grocery sales remain strong compared with pre-pandemic times. This, Kantar said, included fresh primary meat and poultry, where shopper spend over the last 12 weeks was up 9.6% on the same period in 2019. 

Jim McKenna, Kantar’s Client Executive, said: “Nevertheless, when we consider the growth this category achieved in 2020, we see that it has underperformed compared to the wider grocery market. 

“Driven by the performance of beef and pork, which saw declines of 13.4% and 11.9% respectively, the category lost €56.8 million in value over the last 12 weeks compared to the same time last year. Despite growth of 6.6% in the previous 12-week period, and being dubbed the standout performer, sales of lamb declined 7.6% as prices increased and almost 960,000 shoppers left the sector.”

McKenna said that fresh processed poultry was the only key category to achieve growth across both value and volume sold (7.5% and 5.9% respectively), boosted by the 1.3 million new shoppers who have entered the market since the same period in 2020. 

Kantar reported that value sales of chilled fish have risen 7.6% year-on-year, an increase of 16% on 2019, fuelled by the popularity of added value products which grew by 29.9%. Breaded fish was the only sector to face decline, losing 10.9% in spend. Overall, the fresh fish category has gained over 600,000 additional shoppers in the last 12 weeks compared with the same period last year, with added value alone gaining more than 1.3 million. Existing shoppers have also been making more trips, which has driven frequency.

McKenna added: “Despite the good weather making a comeback following the wettest May on record, spend on burgers and grills continued to decline, dropping 9.1% as shoppers left the sector and existing shoppers made fewer trips. In contrast, sales of meat-free products continued to grow strongly at 15.4%, as 1.1 million new shoppers flocked to the category compared with the same period in 2020.”

Looking forward to the second half of 2021, Kantar said that UK retailers can expect to see category performance continue to drop below the unprecedented growth recorded in 2020, with out-of-home dining increasing capacity as consumers gain confidence and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted entirely.”

Meat sales by type

For the 12 weeks to July 11, Kantar reported that meat sales in the UK were down 9.7% year-on-year.

Key highlights included:

Fresh beef (volume)              -13.4%
Fresh lamb (volume)             -7.6%
Fresh pork (volume)              -11.9%
Fresh chicken (volume)          -6.4%
Fresh turkey (volume)            -11.7%
Chilled fish (volume)              +7.6%

Fresh beef (value)                   -13.1%
Fresh lamb (value)                  -10.7%
Fresh pork (value)                  -9.5%
Fresh chicken (value)             -8.0%
Fresh turkey (value)                -11.4%
Chilled fish (value)                 +7.6%

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