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Versatile cuts thrive but Lockdown effects Easter



Versatile cuts thrive but Lockdown effects Easter

Versatile cuts thrive while Easter favourite feels the effect of lockdown life

Fresh cuts which satisfy a variety of meal types have prospered this month as the nation adjusts to very different ways of shopping during lockdown.

Mince (+38.1%), breasts (+35.8%), sausages (+24.8%) and burgers (+19.3%) have all recorded huge volume growth figures within fresh meat in the last four weeks.
Conversely fresh lamb volume dropped by -18.3% in the four weeks to 19 April, as traditional larger gatherings weren’t possible for Easter – where Lamb normally succeeds – which affected the purchasing by older, more traditional shoppers especially. Convenience stores (+18.4%) and butchers (+44.2%) volumes have both benefitted in the last four weeks from shoppers switching their attentions to staying more local to buy fresh meat, while online (+44.3%) has surged due to both a large increases in shopper numbers and increased purchasing volumes on each trip.

Nathan Ward, MFP business unit director, explains: “Shoppers have settled into a new pattern of purchasing as lockdown has progressed – opting for cuts which offer the best flexibility for in-home cooks. “This will have at least in part been influenced by retailers simplifying their ranges. We saw a near 40% drop in the number of different fresh beef products purchased in one of the major retailers alone this period. “The event of Easter just wasn’t possible in its usual sense this year, as extended families were not able to get around the dinner table and enjoy it in the most traditional way – a big family meal. Simplicity has been key for Easter performance this year – as larger gatherings weren’t possible, consumers opted for whole chickens over lamb.

April was the sunniest on record according to the Met Office, which enticed consumers to make the most of their time outside, with volumes for sausages and burgers both increasing.
As out-of-home lunches have transferred in to the home, sliced cooked meats haven’t fared as well as other meats – with volume down by -0.8% in the last 12 weeks.
In chilled fish, only battered and breaded chilled fish have enjoyed growth as shoppers look for ease in assembling meals during the lockdown period.

Nathan explains: “Haddock and sea bass are shining lights in an otherwise tough period for fish, as the sector may still be feeling the effects of stockpiling – when 1 million kilograms of fish fingers were sold in the week to 22 March alone.”

Commenting on the whole industry, Nathan adds: “Looking ahead, the timings of lockdown measures easing will play a key role in how the whole industry performs ongoing. Lightening restrictions on travel may give bigger supermarkets a boost, but the longer our movements are restricted, the more we’ll crave to replicate at least some of the out-of-home experience.”
In line with this, and after a slow Easter for roasting joints, the launch of the ‘Make It’ with beef campaign led by British levy boards will look to boost the sector – with the campaign aiming to inspire consumers to create restaurant-style meals at home.

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Nathan Ward

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