Sainsbury’s expects to sell 10% more salmon this Easter than the same period last year, as consumers move away from a traditional Easter Sunday lunch.

The retailer has predicted consumers will buy the equivalent of 12,000 more whole fish than last year, and about 50 tonnes of salmon on Good Friday alone, which is the equivalent of 16,000 whole salmon.

It comes as research from IGD has suggested fish will be as popular as chicken for main meals this weekend, as consumers move away from more traditional meat options.

Lamb remains the most popular choice among consumers, with 20% opting for the meat as a main this Easter. However, 12% plan to cook fish as a main dish, and 13% will choose chicken.

More than a quarter of consumers said they were opting for weekend-long celebrations, as opposed to just a conventional Easter Sunday lunch, while over 40% of food and grocery shoppers said they were treating the holiday as just a long weekend.

“Our research shows a clear move away from the more traditional Easter celebrations that centre around cooking one main meal on the Sunday of the bank holiday weekend, with lamb being the conventional choice,” said Vanessa Henry, shopper insight manager at IGD. “Instead, shoppers are now viewing the holiday as a four-day event that brings with it multiple opportunities for meals and entertaining, one key part of which is experimenting with main meal options such as fish and chicken.

“Retailers should see this as an opportunity to drive a broader range of different meal occasions instead of just the traditional one celebratory meal, and the spontaneous nature of shopper planning for the holiday means businesses can successfully engage their customers up until the last minute.”