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Easter phasing is helping market growth in the latest Meat, Fish and Poultry (MFP) figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks ending 27th March 2016. An early Easter this year gave Fresh Primary Meat and Poultry a sales boost of £16m, and Fresh Fish a further boost of £29m. Easter is a big draw for shoppers, with an additional quarter of a million buying Meat & Poultry this year. Despite the phasing of Easter, shoppers weren’t the driver of growth in Fresh Fish, and instead bought more frequently over the period Deflation is still obvious in the market, matching what we are seeing in Grocery overall.
Nathan Ward, Business Unit Director for MFP explains “In Meat & Poultry the real winners from the early Easter were Lamb, Turkey and the more niche categories. All of these proteins saw strong shopper growth through the Easter phasing. A big focus for the retailers was on the Easter Meal, with the key Roasting lines an area of focus. The winners in this battle were Legs of Lamb, Turkey & Duck Crowns and Whole Birds”. AB shoppers and Under 34s are the key groups behind the Easter performance, but are engaging with the market differently. ABs are buying into fewer promotions and buying more Roasts, whilst the under 34s are spending more on promotion, particularly straight price cuts which retailers favoured this year.
Ward continued “Fresh Fish saw even stronger sales growth through Natural Fish (Salmon & Haddock) and Shellfish (Prawns). Shoppers embraced slightly more adventurous fish this Easter, with strong value growth for Tuna and Sea Bass in both Natural and Added Value areas”. Non Promoted sales are vital to this growth, particularly in Natural Fish. Shellfish, fuelled by Prawns, Crayfish and Crab, bucked the trend with more sales on promotion, as 1.4 million more shoppers bought a promotion in Shellfish this year.
Easter came at the end of April last year, will the next update see the market back into decline, or will the post-Easter period keep the category buoyant? Find out in our next market update in 4 weeks time.