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Red meat was Scots Christmas treat – record spending signals robust Christmas market


CONSUMER spending on fresh red meat in Great Britain surged to a record £656.2 million in the four weeks leading up to Christmas 2023, marking a significant 9.6% increase compared to the previous year, according to data from Nielsen. 

This remarkable growth defied the challenges of price inflation, indicating a notable shift in household spending towards red meat products.

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Abby Tong, category specialist at QMS, commented:

“The fresh red meat market in Great Britain experienced a gradual growth trend in the lead-up to Christmas, with a substantial surge in sales during the final week, accounting for approximately 35% of total sales over the four-week period.”

Spend on fresh red meat in Scotland also demonstrated robust growth, with an 8.5% year-on-year increase in the four weeks leading up to Christmas. The volume of red meat purchased also experienced a healthy rise, increasing by 2.6%, although it remained 0.9% behind the 2021 level. 

“Beef and sausages played crucial roles in driving the overall volume increase,” noted Abby. “While lamb recorded a more modest increase of 0.5%.” 

“Fresh beef volume sales in Scotland were up 3.7% on 2022 figures while continuing significant year-on-year price inflation meant that fresh pork volume sales were down 3.4%.”

Across Scotland, beef roasting joints were the centrepiece of many Christmas tables with volume sales soaring by an impressive 12%. Lamb legs also experienced growth, as sales increased by 8.4%, while gammon joints gained volume growth of 4.3%. However, in contrast to GB as a whole, ‘Pigs in Blankets’ lost volume, down 3.6% in Scotland.

“A distinctive aspect of the Scottish market was the importance of beef steaks during Christmas. A volume share of 6.4% of total red meat sales equalled that of beef roasts and was a higher share than in GB as a whole, where roasts were still preferred to steaks. The volume of beef steaks sold increased by 2.3% year-on-year in Scotland.” 

“The red meat market demonstrated healthy resilience at Christmas,” concludes Abby. “Despite having to navigate budget constraints in the face on ongoing price inflation, shoppers clearly still wanted to treat themselves and their families to high quality, nutritious and tasty red meat products. The Scottish market showed a keen eye on both traditional favourites and unique regional choices.”

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