Chicken outstrips red meat as barbeque boom continues
The summer sun may well have ended suddenly, but there is still positive news for the Meat, Fish and Poultry (MFP) market, with some categories booming. Our latest data, covering the 12 weeks to 12th August, finds fresh primary meat and poultry volume sales static, but with strong performance from burgers, chicken and natural fish.
While at the total market level, brands have been the success story of the summer, the private label dominated MFP markets are also seeing strong growth. We know that shoppers have been willing to spend a little more to enjoy the summer sunshine, and premium products are in growth both in the MFP markets, and in grocery overall.
The excellent summer weather has had a huge impact on the market and we continue to see strong growth for burgers and grills despite the recent cooling temperatures.
Nathan Ward, Business Unit Director for MFP, explains: “Burgers are still the standout market, attracting 1.1m more shoppers and seeing 3 million more trips. Our in-home consumption grows during hotter weather, but burgers are also a big market out of home with 690m burgers consumed each year. Sausages are also seeing the benefit of barbeque season, recruiting 420,000 shoppers and featuring in 2.2m more trips. This has been driven by increased promotions, with volumes on promotion up 18% year on year, and strong growth from the older shoppers in the market.”
Ward continues: “Poultry remains the big winner overall, with both primary and processed markets showing volume growth. Primary chicken continues to grow, fuelled by strong promotional support – with volumes sold on deal up 12% year on year. Price cuts remain the largest promotional mechanic, but we’ve seen more meal deals involving chicken in stores as well. Chicken breasts (+7.2%) and legs (+4.3%) are driving the volume growth, but whole birds continue to see lower but good growth - up 2.3% in volume on last year. We’ve seen 470,000 more shoppers buying chicken breasts as volumes on promotion rise 43% year on year, helping to drive 1.1m more trips. Sales of chicken legs are growing through promotions as well - up 9.4% on last year - which is driving bigger trips from a similar sized shopper base. Processed poultry attracted 460,000 more shoppers year on year, with growth driven by under 34s.”
The other side of this coin is the poor performance seen in red meat – with primary beef, lamb and pork all seeing volume losses. Declines in shopping trips are behind this, with lamb featuring in 3.5m fewer trips and beef 1.5m. Sales on promotion in both beef and pork are up year on year in volume terms. Lamb sees promotions fall and prices up 42p per kilo as the impact of various external factors, such as the weather and feed import costs, have caused lamb prices to inflate and put pressure on supply.
As we move into what looks like a mild Autumn, will we see a swift return to primary cuts, or will we see the processed categories continue to grow? Perhaps we will see National Burger Day in late August has driven another peak in sales. Find out in our next update in 4 weeks’ time.