Burgers face a grilling after a slow summer for BBQs
2019 has been very different to 2018, with fewer events and erratic weather - hottest days recorded followed by localised flooding. This had affected parts of Meat, Fish & Poultry (MFP) in different ways, with some categories thriving whilst others struggle. Our latest update covering the 12 weeks to 11th August 2019 is showing tough times for the more processed products, but the core primary categories performing well. In the wider grocery market, many retailers are struggling to find growth with limited inflation and the annualisation against the great summer of 2018.
Nathan Ward, Business Unit Director, MFP, explains: “The summer of extremes has driven some big changes in behaviour with shoppers pulling back on traditional summer categories like Burgers, Sausages and Sliced Cooked Meats. There has been a shift towards buying more primary products, especially red meat which has struggled in previous years. As we highlighted last month, summer eating has been a major focus for retailers with lots of good innovation, but they haven’t enjoyed the best weather to drive growth. Burgers have seen the greatest decline after huge growth in 2018, but sales are still ahead of 2017 (up 10% with 890,000 more shoppers over the two years). Over the latest 12 weeks, Burgers have seen 236,000 fewer shoppers, with smaller baskets driving the decline. The reduction in basket size is partly a result of 5% fewer sales on promotion, including retailer moves into more price cuts (+10%) and fewer volume deals (-16%). A silver lining is a better performance from burgers in the last 4 weeks”.
The real winners in MFP this summer are the primary proteins, with all categories seeing volumes grow except Duck and more speciality poultry. Ward continues: “Beef and Lamb are seeing a much stronger performance in the short term, with lower prices helping to drive volume ahead of value. The performance of Beef has been driven by Mince (+10%) and Marinades (+14%). Mince growth has been driven by 4.4m more trips as promotions increased by +6%, focused on price cuts. We are also seeing long term growth of lower fat mince. Lamb has seen the strongest performance overall, driven by almost 300,000 more shoppers and 1.3m more trips.
Volumes of Lamb on promotion are up 25% with more price cuts and volume deals selling through. Promotions only account for 13% of sales though, so base sales are also key to growth, up 5% year on year. Sales of Lamb Steaks, Roasting Joints and Mince are all substantially up. Roasting growth has come from both Leg (+12%) and Shoulder (+22%), with non-promoted sales key to the resurgence. Pork and Chicken are growing behind the market in value and volume, but are still seeing growth over the summer as shoppers buy more pork roasting joints, pork mince and chicken Legs/Wings.”
Ward continues: “Chilled Fish has seen growth flatten over the last few months, but there has been stronger volume performance this period as shoppers buy more Natural fillet and continue to pick up more fresh battered and breaded fish. In line with the wider market, the more processed options have seen volumes stall, with added value products flat in volume terms, and heavily down in value terms. The category overall has grown through almost 3.1m more trips and 427,000 more buyers. Retired shoppers are key to the market and are driving growth up 6% year on year.”
As the days become shorter, will we see a move into autumnal behaviours, or will there be a late rally in summer sales? We can’t predict the weather, but do anticipate more interesting MFP trends over the next few months, so keep reading our updates to find out more.