Shoppers Fill Freezers With Christmas Food For Fear Of Disruption | Food industry

It might not be a white Christmas, but it’s already on ice as more shoppers fill their freezers with party foods, turkey and other festive delicacies amid fears of another troubled end of the year.

Sales of frozen turkey nearly doubled, frozen stuffing increased by a fifth, and sales of pre-baked frozen buns and other savory baked goods rose 9% in Britain in the four weeks to October 3 , according to Kantar analysts. .

At frozen food specialist Iceland, the numbers are even more striking: Sales of frozen food for the holidays have tripled and frozen turkeys have increased 400% as shoppers plan ahead.

Richard Walker, the Icelandic channel’s boss, said his Christmas website went live a month earlier than last year due to customer demand.

However, he said business was stable: “We don’t see crazy panic buying.

Aldi and Tesco have also reported a surge in frozen turkey sales, with many families worried they would not profit if they let buy their Christmas meal centerpiece until the last minute. Waitrose said there was still a demand for fresh turkeys and its pre-orders were up more than a third from the same time last year.

Concerns about the availability of seasonal products prompted about a quarter of shoppers to start Christmas shopping in September, according to analysts at Mintel, the highest proportion on record by the market research firm.

Eden Plummer, director of consumer insight at Kantar, said the increase in sales of frozen Christmas food stood out from an overall decline in frozen sales last month and a general decline in the market for frozen food. grocery store as shoppers were given more freedom to dine out than last year when restrictions were in place in various parts of Britain.

“This year, you can understand that some people want to make sure they have everything they need ahead of time to make sure they have the celebration that they couldn’t have had the year. last.”

Plummer said sales of Christmas puddings increased 76% and meat pies by 10% over the period, so there was a general shift towards storing festive food.

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Nick Carroll, of market research firm Mintel, said shoppers are turning to frozen and packaged foods as about a fifth said they have experienced difficulty purchasing certain products due to shortages on the shelves.

British turkey producers have laid a fifth fewer poultry than last year, according to the British Poultry Council, amid fears that workers will be found to slaughter and process them. Meat processors have also warned of potential shortages of complex ready meals such as pigs in blankets for the same reason.

There are also concerns about CO supplies2 which is used in poultry slaughter, as high energy prices have affected production across Europe.

“It was assumed that we would see a return to pre-pandemic habits in 2021. However, news of fuel, product and personnel shortages will have created some uncertainty for buyers, Carroll said.

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