Mars has taken its promotional activity to stratospheric new heights –  running twice as many deals as last month and almost three times more than a year ago.

Data from retail analysts Assosia shows Mars ran 554 featured space promotions (such as gondola ends and pallets) in the top five retailers in the four weeks ending 24 November, compared with 261 last month and 206 a year ago. The business was offering deals on its brands – which include Maltesers, Galaxy and Celebrations – in multiple locations in store, with the majority on confectionery; cakes, biscuits and drinks accounted for less than 3% of all Mars offers.

See the complete retail prices table.

Mars has also run deeper deals, with average saving 10.3 percentage points higher than in November 2012 and 15 points higher than the 33.4% average across the market this month. The brand has favoured straight money-off deals, which accounted for 87.4% of its offers as it reduced its use of x-for-y.

Cadbury has also upped its use of money-off, although its average saving was 32.8%. While Cadbury has run the same number of deals as a year ago, and Nestlé fewer, the Mars activity and a surge by Swizzels Matlow – 180 deals versus 24 a year ago – has increased confectionery’s share of total promotional space from 7.7% in November 2012 to 11.3% this year. “Halloween and Bonfire Night drove the increase in activity,” says Assosia MD Kay Staniland, “Sweets and packs of funsize chocolate were on offer well into November.”

Increased activity by brands – with major players including Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s running more deals year on year – has brought a drop in the number of total number of own-label promotions. This trend is likely to be short-lived, however, as retailers are expected to give more space to own-label lines including party food and meat, fish & poultry as Christmas approaches.

In the run-up to the festivities, stores are also keen to keep stocking moving, which has been a key reason for the slight increase in the average saving being offered, says Staniland.

Wholesale prices: Brazilian beef is the only meat cheaper than a year ago

The wholesale price of Brazilian beef is down 2% year on year - the only meat in our table to fall. In contrast, UK beef is showing the highest year on year price increase, up 12.7% to £3,959/t. However, over the past month UK beef prices have stabilised, rising only 0.1% on the back of increased demand as a result of the colder weather.

Wholesale prices 30 Nov 2013

New Zealand lamb is also up, by 10.1% year on year to £3,094/t, driven by drought earlier in the year, which led to a fall in the size of the New Zealand breeding flock. Month on month prices are up 3.6% to £3,094/t A drop in lamb production is also forecast for the 2013/14 season.

Meanwhile, pork prices continue to rise due to increased consumer demand, with the finished pig market starting to strengthen as the Christmas season approaches, with supplies currently tight and pork prices up 9% year on year to £1,718/t.

chicken prices are down month on month as feed prices fall on the back of good global harvests. However, Dutch prices remain up 6.9% year on year due to high demand for chicken meat.

UK turkey prices are also up year on year by 6.8%, but are surprisingly flat month on month - good news for processors in the run-up to Christmas.