The marketeers of many of Britain’s biggest food and drink brands apparently didn’t include ‘cutting back on promotional spend’ in their new year resolutions.

While the number of featured space promotions – deals in locations such as gondola ends and pallets – has fallen compared with the pre-Christmas frenzy of four weeks ago, it is still way above the levels recorded this time last year [Assosia 4 w/e 13 January 2013].

Stores have made room for 10,935 deals over the past four weeks – almost 20% more than in the same period 12 months ago. In almost every category – with the exception of general groceries and bakery – the number of deals has risen year-on-year.

The soaring number of promotions has been particularly good news for animal lovers, with offers on pet care products more than doubling from the 62 recorded a year ago to 133.

Wholesale prices: dry ingredients

Most of the ingredients in our tracker remain cheaper than they were a year ago.

Although dried apricots have risen seasonally by 10.3% over the past month, prices are 30.4% below 2012 levels, as the market returns to normal following unusually high prices in 2011.

Similar dynamics are at play for most other dry ingredients markets, with price falls largely the result of unusually high prices in the previous season. Prices for desiccated coconut, for example, increased sharply in 2011 due to weather problems at the end of 2010, but improved harvests in the second half of 2011 and 2012 have returned prices to more normal levels.

Meanwhile in cashews, high demand and low supply in 2011 forced prices higher, which in turn led to a fall in demand as buyers found substitute nuts.

Demand has been slow to recover, and prices remain down on a month-on-month and year-on-year basis, coming in at £4,353/tonne.

Fresh produce and meat, fish & poultry have also seen sharp hikes in activity, with the number of deals up 114% and 68.8% respectively. As most of these products are unbranded, this has contributed to the 61.5% overall increase in the total number of own-label promotions across the retailers.

That’s not to say brands have been keeping their heads down, as the total number of branded deals has risen from 7,776 a year ago to 8,718. And, although almost all brands have reined things in month-on-month, only two of the 10 most-promoted brands are running fewer deals than at this time last year.

The sharpest increase was from Coca-Cola, which is running more than three times the number of offers it did 12 months ago – 216 in the past four weeks against the 70 recorded this time last year.

With deals on its Creme eggs appearing long before the tinsel came down, Cadbury increased its number of o ersby 26% year-on-year to 450, while Nestlé rose 20.3% to 225. But Mars more than doubled its number of offers from 84 to 179 and increased the typical saving it offered shoppers by 4.7 percentage points to 36.2%.