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Retail pork spending decline continues despite higher bacon and sausage sales

14th Dec 2016 / By Alistair Driver

Retail spending on all major pork cuts declined during the autumn as consumers continued to switch to beef and lamb and retail prices remained low.


Worst hit was fresh and frozen pork, with retail sales 14 per cent down in the 12 weeks to November 6, the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel shows.

The declining trend of recent months continued as the volume of retail pork sold fell by 9 per cent, compared with the same period last year, despite prices being 5 per cent lower, in contrast to rising farmgate prices.

All pork cuts were affected as consumers continued to switch to chicken and beef, both of which sold in increased volumes during the period. 

Retail sales of bacon and sausages showed a welcome increase on autumn 2015, lower prices meant that spending on these categories was also down.

A 9 per cent drop in bacon prices more than outweighed a 3 per cent growth in the amount purchased, while a smaller price cut for sausages was still sufficient to turn a 1 per cent volume increase into a 3 per cent value decline.

Sales growth accelerated for both bacon and sausages in the latest four weeks. Purchases of sliced cooked meats, mainly ham, were little changed in either volume, value or price.

AHDB Pork pointed out lower prices continue to be apparent across the meat sector, with the exception of lamb, which also lost out compared with 2015.

International cuisines

AHDB Pork has also highlighted separate analysis showing how global travel and population diversification has influenced the types of foods British consumers eat, with pork seemingly not doing enough to tap into these new trends. 

Again, it appears to be losing out to beef and chicken. 

Int cuisine chart

AHDB Pork's consumer insight analyst Rebecca Gladman said: "It’s a long-term trend that continues to affect our industries. With more and more choice, consumers need inspiration to keep industry products relevant.

"British consumers are still most likely to opt for traditional British meals or protein-centered dishes (like meat, potatoes and vegetables) over ethnic/world cuisines.

"But the lines are blurring and there are new traditions. Beef and chicken have no doubt benefited from both long-term and more recent changes in cuisine preferences.

"However, beef’s strong association with these types of dishes isn’t replicated for pork. This is something the sector ought to strive for, positioning it as a direct alternative to chicken."

To read more about the rise of international cuisines, in the UK and around the world, click here.