Premium sausages lead a star category Real star of the show in the latest Taylor Nelson Sofres data on retail meat sales is the sausage. TNS's households increased purchases of sausages by 10% in the four weeks to early January against 12 months previously, and spent 12.5% more buying them. Talk in the trade is of the demand particularly apparent for premium sausages, now developing from a niche into a category in their own right. Increased demand for gourmet sausages has beeen the main engine of growth at Cranswick, shortlisted for company of the year in the Financial Times PLC Awards 2001. Households spent nearly 13% more on beef in the latest pre-Christmas period than a year earlier, with purchased quantities growing 6%, but a year earlier consumer sentiment had been affected by continental BSE, and so the figures should be regarded as recovery rather than growth. The performance of lambi is poor superficially, but supply was tight in December, and the steady expenditure in the face of reduced volume indicates resilient demand. Pork also performed rather better in the latest period than during much of 2001, though it is still clear consumers' lack of interest is a marketing challenge. {{MEAT }}