The AHDB has announced that sales over the month of December reached £11.7 billion, with Christmas providing a positive lift for grocery sales. Using figures provided by Kantar, it’s reported that spend was down just 0.2% compared to the record 2020 sales. It’s suggested that many still chose to spend the holiday at home, despite fewer restrictions in place.
Meat, fish and poultry saw declines in both value and volume compared to 2020 but were up on 2019 levels. During December, 98% of households purchased meat, fish or poultry, resulting in a retail value of £1.9 billion.
Spend on roasting joints was up 2.2% in the four weeks to the 26th of December, marking a positive step for the red meat category. Both pork and lamb saw volume growth compared to 2019, with a 13.3% increase in pork buyers, predominately new shoppers. Lamb saw its growth driven by repeat shoppers increasing the amount that they purchased.
Beef joints had a particularly strong 2020 and were unable to match that in 2021, however, total beef sales were up when compared to 2019. This growth came from everyday cuts including mince and burgers.
Dairy sales reached £900 million in December, with 99% of households buying products derived from cow’s dairy. Volumes were down 5% from the height of 2020 but 5% higher than 2019 levels.
Cheese saw the strongest increase on pre-pandemic levels, with shoppers buying more cheeses such as cheddar, paneer and mozzarella. There was year-on-year growth for extra mature and vintage cheddars, and Red Leicester, though soft continentals and mild cheddars struggled.
December is typically a good month for cream sales, with 13% of all purchases happening around Christmas. However, despite growth in desserts such as mince pies, fresh cream volumes dropped 3.1% year on year, but aerosol and alcoholic creams saw growth.
Compared to Christmas 2019, volumes of cream sold were up as existing shoppers purchased larger quantities.
A full Christmas report will be available from the AHDB in early February.