Predicted winners at this year’s Christmas dinners

25 November, 21

Specialty cheese such as Wensleydale and brie are predicted to be festive favourites this year – with beef also challenging the traditional Christmas crown.

Following subdued seasonal celebrations last year due to Covid, AHDB insight analysts have taken a look at what this year’s festivities could mean for red meat and dairy, how Yuletide food will be impacted by supply issues and whether 2020 trends will remain.

With fewer party guests at last year’s Christmas dinner, sales of beef roasting joints soared by 18 per cent compared to 2019, with many households switching from turkey to cater to their own personal taste.

Analysts believe that the lingering trepidation of ‘bigger’ gatherings and a shortage of seasonal poultry workers could result in a similar picture at this year’s celebrations, with beef roasting joints once again featuring more prominently at the ‘main event’.

Christmas is the biggest event in retail calendars with spend in the two weeks prior to the big day rising 22 per cent compared to an average two weeks of the year. In 2020, grocery spend at Christmas reached its highest levels, worth £1.8bn more than the average month.

While households are able to venture out-of-home this Christmas, lasting concerns about Covid has led Kantar to predict grocery sales will remain significantly inflated versus 2019 – up ten per cent – but down on last year by three per cent.

AHDB Senior Retail Insight Manager Kim Malley said: “Although last year was unprecedented because of Covid, some of the pandemic behaviours still remain. And with issues around seasonal workers and the supply chain, there are many factors that could impact this year’s Christmas dinner.

“If we look at last year’s food sales and household preferences, we can get an idea of what this could mean for red meat and dairy this Christmas. While some trends could remain, there are also opportunities for some sectors to experience a return to 2019 behaviours.”

Sectors that could benefit from a resurgence include the traditional Christmas cheese boards featuring a variety of specialty offerings, which lost market share to Cheddar last year. And bigger pre-made desserts and alcoholic cream – a typical Christmas favourite, could see a surge in sales after a sluggish performance last year.

Pigs in blankets are expected to bring a festive boost for the pork sector, with the traditional key trimming featuring prominently at the Christmas table.

And to mitigate concerns around supply and demand, as well as budget restraints, frozen meat joints are expected to have a stronger Christmas this year.

Analysts also believe that with many people financially impacted by Covid, households will be seeking value and could potentially trade down. However, others will have been able to save money as a result of lockdown and could be looking for a blowout – providing an opportunity for all tiers in-store.

The full article can be found here

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