Red meat roasting joints could challenge the Christmas crown

Red meat roasting joints could challenge the Christmas crown

Pork roasting joints could be the winner at Christmas dinner – with experts predicting red meat will challenge the traditional crown and ‘sleigh’ this festive season.

Analysts at AHDB have been ‘unwrapping’ last year’s Christmas, as well as looking at recent buying behaviours and market trends to pull-out predictions for the Yuletide celebrations.

With turkey losing volume share last December, experts believe revellers are moving away from the traditional centre piece to other options. And with the cost-of-living crisis leaving many families cash-strapped, Christmas could bring a boost to pork as it offers a cheaper alternative for those still looking to indulge.

The predictions follow warnings this week of a shortage of Christmas turkeys and price rises due to the country’s largest ever bird flu outbreak.

AHDB Senior Retail Insight Manager Kim Heath said that turkey shortages, the cost-of-living crisis and new buying trends over the last couple of Christmas’s, all have the potential to lift sales of red meat this year.

“After two years of unpredictable Christmas periods, we had hoped this year would be about treating and huge celebrations,” added Kim. “But the challenging economic situation means the cost-of-living crisis makes Christmas 2022 just as unpredictable as a Covid Christmas.

“We are likely to see a shift to cheaper roasting joints, benefiting pork. But with a potential shortage of turkeys there is an opportunity for people to trade up to beef and lamb for consumers who want a showstopping centre piece, especially if they can have more people round the dinner table this year.”

Frozen options for both meat and dairy-based desserts may also benefit from shoppers who are watching their budgets this festive season, with standard and value brands looking likely to steal market share this Christmas.

And with more families getting together this year, following several years of restrictions and uncertainty due to Covid, larger roasting joints could benefit with many switching back to bigger sizes to feed more people on Christmas day.

According to AHDB analysts, Christmas will still be the biggest seasonal event for retailers, with consumers spending more – even in times of economic uncertainty. During the 2008 recession, spend per household on consumer-packaged foods during December was 11 per cent higher than the average of the previous three months.

However, according to research agency Two Ears One Mouth, 53 per cent of shoppers plan to make more of offers and price reductions in-store to cope with the rising cost of living.

Kim added: “Despite the economic situation this year, we can safely predict that Christmas will still see significant uplifts compared to the rest of the year. However, a shopping basket may look different to previous years to cope with budgetary restraints.

“It needs to be remembered that the fundamentals of a Christmas shop will remain due to tradition, but small tweaks may be made. With more shoppers looking to reduce their spend, tactical support in-store is going to be essential for the meat and dairy categories.”

See the full predictions here

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