roast lamb meat

Lamb managed to outperform both 2020 and 2019 volumes, but most other meat categories saw sales fall against last year’s record volumes

Retail sales of lamb roasting joints grew over Christmas, bucking the decline in other meat categories, latest Kantar figures have revealed.

Data for the four weeks to 26 December 2021 showed total lamb volumes rose by 0.9% on 2020’s record retail performance for red meat and a 3.3% uplift on 2019.

Volumes of pork roasting joints were down by almost 14% compared with 2020 but up 11.1% over the same period in 2019. Beef roasting joints fell 19.7% on 2020 levels, and turkey saw a 20.1% decline.

Whole chicken volumes also dropped 12.9% compared with 2020, but rose 0.5% over the same period in 2019.

The research also revealed the red meat category spend on roasting joints was up 2.2% year on year, driven by increases in average price through the premium tier.

During December, 98% of households bought meat, fish or poultry, equating to a total spend of £1.9bn.

“While it is difficult to compare red meat performance to Christmas 2020, when the whole country was in lockdown and all festivities took place at home, we can see that red meat performed well in retail during 2021 when compared to a more normal, pre-lockdown Christmas,” said AHDB retail insight manager Grace Randall.

“The latest data shows that many consumers switched some of their spend to the eating out market, such as restaurants and pubs, which had an impact on the levels of meat bought from their local supermarkets or butchers.

“However, pork and lamb roasting joints enjoyed growth in December compared to Christmas 2019, with lamb being the exception of all meat and fish centrepieces, with volumes up slightly on 2020.”

Elsewhere, dairy sales reached £900m in December, with 99% of households buying a product over the festive season.

While volumes were down 5% from the heights of 2020, they remained 5% up on 2019 levels.

Cheese saw the strongest volume increase on 2019 levels, with shoppers buying more cheddar, paneer and mozzarella this Christmas.

Year on year, there was growth for extra mature and vintage cheddars and red leicester, but other cheeses struggled, particularly soft continentals and mild cheddar.

Last month, The Grocer revealed that fresh salmon was 2021’s star performer in fresh meat, fish and poultry, adding £54.5m – the fifth-largest absolute gain of any non-tobacco product in our Top Products report.