Pigs fly off the shelves as pork grows
The latest data covering the 12 weeks ending 5th November 2017 shows Meat, Fish and Poultry (MFP) volumes static compared to last year, whilst value grows as inflation hits the MFP categories. Pork remains the star performer in value and volume terms, with prices rising 2.1% and volumes 3%. Volume sales have only increased by 1% in the overall grocery market, and the primary MFP categories are struggling, with only the processed market growing volume overall. Shoppers are making smaller trips to the category but are buying it more often, perhaps looking to cope with inflation by doing more needs-based shopping trips.
Inflation remains a significant force in the category, driving up the price of red meats and chilled fish. Like-for-like grocery inflation now stands at 3.4% – its highest level since November 2013. This is having a real impact those categories with high like for like inflation. The effect on consumers in the MFP sector is a mixture of trading down and shoppers making more considered choices about the proteins and cuts they buy. The impacts are far-reaching, and we see shoppers moving their spend across proteins as well as into other more processed meals.
Nathan Ward, Business Unit Director for MFP explains: “The star performer in primary meat is pork. Having spent much of the last few years commenting on the decline of pork it’s great to see its renaissance! Pork has seen 290,000 more shoppers than last year, but the real driver of the growth is shoppers engaging with the category more often, picking it up on 2.1 million more trips this year. Inflation is hitting the category, with average prices up 7.4%, and inflation is compounded by promotions falling - down 28% on last year. The AHDB "Pork midweek meal” campaign has helped to raise awareness and put pork front of mind for consumers, whilst the comparatively good value of the protein has helped drive volume. The big winners for pork are mince, marinated lines and frying/grilling which are all seeing value and volume growth.”
Ward continues: “Chilled fish is also seeing the effects of inflation, but with much more negative effects than for pork, and this period we see suppressed volumes have tipped the category into value decline. Chilled fish is seeing almost 100,000 fewer shoppers compared to last year, and is losing out as shoppers move their baskets to other proteins and meals. Additionally there’s been 4.5m fewer trips including chilled fish compared to the same period last year, heavily impacting volumes. Natural and smoked fish are the biggest contributors to the losses, losing 3.1m and 2.2m respectively. Like for like inflation remains high in these two categories and prices are up significantly; natural fish increases by £1.86 per kilo (15.4%) on average, and smoked fish sees an increase of £1.28 per kilo (9%). These increased prices are pushing consumers to reconsider what products they’re buying from the category, with salmon seeing the largest volume losses. Added value products have tipped into value and volume decline this period, with salmon – again - a key driver of the change in performance.”
The Christmas season has begun in earnest and we’ve seen a flurry of festive adverts in recent weeks, with the Christmas dinner front and centre in some cases. We are expecting a good Christmas for the category, and our head of retail and consumer insight, Fraser McKevitt, was recently quoted saying: “The British public is expected to shell out a whopping £28.7 billion at the grocers in the final 12 weeks of 2017.” We all know how important Christmas is to the MFP markets and are already seeing the push for Christmas beginning in store. Retailers are putting focus on premium products and we expect shoppers to invest in a great Christmas experience despite the inflationary pressures they are feeling. Join us for our next update where we’ll report on the all-important lead up to Christmas.