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Meat sales romanced by Valentine’s Day
Published:  15 March, 2017

Consumer demand for meat, fish and poultry around Valentine’s Day has helped bolster volume and value sales. 

According to the latest Meat, Fish and Poultry (MFP) figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to 26 February 2017, fresh primary meat & poultry value sales grew 1.1% year-on-year, with volume sales growing 4.1%.

Big winners in the fresh primary category were beef, which saw a 2.8% growth in value sales and a 5.5% rise in volume sales – driven by a rise in demand for steaks – and chicken with a 2% value growth and a 7.6% volume increase.

Lamb was the big casualty, seeing a 4.1% drop in value sales and a 4.3% drop in volume sales.

Nathan Ward, business unit director for MFP, said: “Primary meat and poultry saw a return to value growth as Valentine’s Day proved to be a valuable shot in the arm for the category. In beef, steaks sizzled as people bought 12% more this year, with 690,000 more shoppers buying the category. Chicken saw strong growth from crowns and rolls/roasts, as people bought into these more added-value options over Valentine’s Day. With the romantic festival falling mid-week, those cooking at home sought out options with shorter cooking and preparation times. This ties in with the macro trends we are seeing, with consumers wanting high-quality food that is quick to prepare, easy to deliver, but is tasty and wholesome!”

Kantar added that while the processed meat and poultry areas have seen decline of late, value and volume sales have both grown this period through both sausages and processed poultry, as shoppers buy the categories more often. It singled out the growth in sausages (a rise of 2.1% in value) has come through 2.5 million more trips this year, with pre-family shoppers making 12% more trips.

Chilled fish continues to be the success story of the category, with added value seeing a 10% value sales growth and battered experiencing a 12.4% value rise.

Ward added: “Fish has seen like-for-like inflation as import prices increase and key species are affected by external factors. Salmon yields are a clear example of this, with falling stocks driving up prices due to lice and other factors. Added-value fish and shellfish have seen a strong volume uplift, having benefited from prominent roles in Valentine’s Day deals. Natural fish lost volume over this period, driven by the loss of 270,000 shoppers, with those remaining making smaller trips. Inflation has kept sales buoyant though, and is clearest in the largest species, with the price per kg of salmon up by 13% and cod by 9%.”

The processed meat and poultry areas have seen a decline in recent reports, but both value and volume increased during this period through both sausages and processed poultry, as shoppers bought the categories more often. Growth in sausages has come through 2.5 million more trips this year with pre-family shoppers making 12% more trips.

Processed poultry is the largest of the processed categories and has grown value ahead of volume, with 790,000 more shoppers buying the category and rising prices adding value.