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Millions more pork meals to be consumed at home as a result of coronavirus

7th Apr 2020 / By Alistair Driver

Sliced cooked meats, including ham, will feature in an additional 35 million more meals eaten at home each week, as a result of coronavirus.

There will also be large weekly increases in the number of home meals containing pork, bacon and other meats, according to analysis by AHDB, using retail data from Kantar.

Kantar has estimated that there will be 503 million more (+38%) in-home meals eaten per week in this lockdown period, an increase of 38%.  

Coronavirus AHDB

The majority of these additional meals expected at lunchtime, as more than half of all lunches (54%) were eaten out-of-home prior to the lockdown. 

Spending on evening meals tends to be higher than that of breakfast/lunch- with predicted additional 113 million more in-home occasions per week, this alone could result in an extra £227 million being spent per week.

Breakfasts will get the smallest boost as it is normally eaten at home – however, the data suggests there will still be at least a 9% growth in this category.

Impact on meat

These changing consumer habits will have a big impact on pork products, with an estimated additional 35 million more meals featuring sliced cooked meats each week, a 91% increase, with ham the biggest product in this category by some distance.

It is anticipated that pork will feature in four million more meals per week, with 61% expected in the evening and 38% at lunchtime, while fresh bacon will be served in an estimated eight million more meals per week and sausages in an extra six million.

However, in terms of primary meats, fresh beef will be the biggest winner, featuring in 10 million more meals per week. Fresh poultry is estimated to be part of an extra 16 million additional meals, while three million more meals will feature lamb.

AHDB Covid eating habit 2

Kantar estimates an increase of 190 million occasions per week of milk, largely driven by more teas, coffees and cereal being eaten in the home. 

Foodservice losses

It is difficult at this stage to predict if the estimated rise for in-home meals will offset the impact of foodservice closures, said Stephen Evans, AHDB consumer insight manager.

Consumers are unlikely to directly replicate meals they would have eaten out of the home.  So, for meat, product volumes from foodservice do not directly transfer into homes in terms of cuts. For example, it may well be that uplifts in mince are higher than that of steaks, he said.

Firm family favourites’ such as Italian, stews and ‘simple, hearty, filling or comforting treats for families’ may benefit the most. Meal choices are also weather dependent, with barbecue products, including sausages, certain to do well if the sun shines.

Post-lockdown?

When the current lockdown is lifted consumers are still very likely feel ripple effects further down the line, mainly linked to economic uncertainty, AHDB said.

“For instance, in the credit crunch of 2007/2008, markets saw big spikes of in-home meal occasions. Foodservice struggled as people faced tough economic circumstances, but there were trade up opportunities in retail,” Mr Evans said.

“Many shoppers remained price conscious but a fancy in-home meal kit can still be cost effective when compared to dining out with the family. 

“To a certain extent, the COVID-19 pandemic and potential economic ripple effect to consumers may well fast track some of the recessionary behaviour which Kantar observed and AHDB reported on initially during Brexit uncertainty.

“Adapting to consumers demand is really challenging when the size of the shift in lockdown has never been seen before. Adapting and evolving as the consumer needs change over the coming months will be pivotal to long term success.”

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