Turkey sales shot up over a Christmas period in which most of the major meat categories performed well.
TNS Worldpanel figures show that in the eight weeks to January 1, sales of turkey rose 6% year-on-year to £86.9m. Sales of all gammon cuts rose 10% to £60.3m.
Beef was up 4% to £279.6m, pork rose 5% to £188m and lamb was up 8% to £81.2m.
Chicken dipped 1% to £301m, though TNS said this reflected the fact that consumers tended to switch from chicken to turkey over Christmas.
The whole fresh meat market rose 3% to £1.23bn.
The strong showing from turkey confirmed early estimates by retailers and producers that the festive period had been a good one, with many consumers trading up to more expensive free-range and organic birds.
Kim Burgess, chairman of the British Turkey Sector Group Publicity and Marketing Committee, said that new pack formats were also helping to keep turkey at the top of the Christmas shopping list.
“The growing availability of ready-prepared turkey joints suitable for Christmas roasts is encouraging smaller family units to stick with turkey rather than cook a smaller alternative such as beef or chicken.
“We are delighted that British turkey is still very much the favourite choice for Christmas dinner. Our challenge now is to encourage this higher spending on British birds all year round.”
About 10 million turkeys are produced for the Christmas table by UK farmers.
Richard Clarke