The growing popularity of Spanish food has helped boost sales of continental meats as consumers become more adventurous in their home cooking. Sales of Continental meats and sausages have grown 10% in value in the past year to more than £200m [TNS], with Spanish meats recording a 20% sales uplift to £21m. The Continental meats market is traditionally dominated by German and Italian products, but the popularity of Spain among British holidaymakers has given extra impetus to sales of authentic Spanish hams and sausages.

Whole Spanish chorizo has recorded 27% volume and 36% value growth over the past year, with the category now worth £8m in UK retail. Iberian and Serrano hams, both pre-packed and whole sausages, have also sold well.

In the current economic climate, consumers were increasingly likely to entertain at home rather than go out, said Jane Bentley, marketing controller at deli meat specialist Smithfield Foods.

“This will often result in customers trading up, buying a nice bottle of wine and some premium supermarket products to have at home rather than go out,” she added. “Spanish meats, such as chorizo and premium Spanish hams, fit exactly into the type of food consumers would move to in this thought process.”

Polish meats were also selling well at retail, with UK consumers as well as the Polish population buying into the category, Smithfield reported. The most popular meats included Polish pork sausage Kabanos, the ham loin Sopocka and lean pork ring Wiejska.