May 11, 2021

Fresh meat and poultry growth rates slowed down in the UK in the 12 weeks to March 21, with fresh primary meat growing 11.6% and fresh processed 5.8%, in comparison to figures from the start of lockdown restrictions in March 2020, according to the latest data from Kantar. 

In the latest four week period, both fresh primary and fresh processed meat moved into decline for the first time since January 2020 (down 4.1% and 6.6% respectively) – though volume sales are still significantly ahead of pre-COVID-19 levels. 

Sales of primary lamb (up 6.1%) and pork (up 1.5%) bucked the trend and remain in growth in the most recent four weeks, which was due largely to good growth in roasting cuts which outweighed losses elsewhere, growing for all the primary proteins. 

Jason Nixon, a Consumer Insight Director at Kantar, said: “Shoppers look to have been getting Easter-ready early this year and planning ahead to make sure that big family meal was a hit.” 

Fresh fish, meanwhile, had a very strong four-week period, growing at 11.4%. Sliced fish was the fastest growing fish sector (up 38.7%) and accounts for €5.6 million more spent this year. Fillets remain the heart of the category, and make up the largest component of growth as shoppers put an extra €7.2m worth into their baskets. 

Fresh burgers and grills continued to shine in the meat category, being the strongest growing sector, up 11.8% in the latest four weeks – with an extra 872,000 packs purchased compared with last year.

This will be an area to watch as lockdown continues to ease and shoppers can take advantage of seeing friends outdoors in larger groups, presenting opportunities to dust off the barbecue.

Marcelina Fedczyszyn, a Consumer Insight Director at Kantar, added: “We expect that barbecues – weather permitting of course – will be a key feature of in-home consumption in the coming months, especially before restrictions are relaxed fully in restaurants and bars.

“As the hospitality market starts to reopen, how willing shoppers are to embrace their newfound freedom will be key to the performance of the market throughout 2021 and beyond.”

Meat sales by type
For the 12 weeks to March 21, meat sales were up 11.6% year-on-year.

Key highlights included:
Fresh beef (volume)                +6.6%
Fresh lamb (volume)              +11.6%
Fresh pork (volume)               +16.6%
Fresh chicken (volume)          +9.8%
Fresh turkey (volume)            -1.0%
Chilled fish (volume)              +10.9%

Fresh beef (value)                   +9.7%
Fresh lamb (value)                  +20.0%
Fresh pork (value)                  +17.2%
Fresh chicken (value)             +10.9%
Fresh turkey (value)                +1.0 %
Chilled fish (value)                 +15.1%

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