Good summer and high potato prices leave frozen chips out in the cold

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Sunshine and soaring prices prompted Brits to give frozen chips the cold shoulder this summer.

Volume sales of frozen chips slumped 4.6% year on year in the third quarter [Kantar Worldpanel 12 w/e 15 September] as Brits basked in the summer heatwave.

But the decline in consumption wasn’t just caused by the warm temperatures: the average price of frozen chips has rocketed 17% year on year due to higher costs and a drop in promotional activity, said the Potato Council.

“Prices have been higher throughout the year, so there is not as much push to drive promotions,” said the council’s consumer insight manager Richard Cullen.

As a result, fewer shoppers had bought frozen chips, and those that had were buying less per trip, added the council.

The hot summer had caused a “unique seasonal impact”, said frozen food giant McCain, adding that it expected sales to recover. “When this year’s figures are compared to summer 2012 and 2011, which were relatively cold, the shortfall in the 2013 figures looks unavoidable,” said McCain head of brand Mark Hodge.

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