Duck has become a surprise beneficiary of the recession, with sales values up 2.5% and volumes rising 3.2% at the UK's biggest retail supplier Gressingham Foods [52w/e 21 February 2010].

At a time when other meats perceived to be expensive, such as lamb and beef, are in volume decline, consumers have bought more duck.

Promotions and the launch of new value-added products such as duck crowns had drawn shoppers to the category, said MD William Buchanan. The company had also experienced strong trading at Christmas. "At Christmas ducks are relatively low in price compared with some other proteins. More people were eating it instead of turkey."

Gressingham had recently appointed a PR company to target consumers, added Buchanan. "We're trying to get it more as a weekday buy rather than something for a special occasion."