BEEF AND PORK sales soared at Christmas at the expense of turkey as shoppers opted for joints of meat better served for small gatherings.

Restrictions on family get-togethers and dining out over the festive season delivered record retail sales growth this Christmas, according to AHDB retail analyst Grace Randall.

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Food and drink sales (excluding alcohol) grew by £912m to £8.1bn, according to Kantar Worldpanel figures, meaning that 2020 was the biggest ever Christmas for food retail.

In contrast, the out of home market declined by £1.4bn.

Whole and crown turkey sales declined 4% in the four weeks to 27 December, according to Kantar, when compared with the same period a year earlier.


But whole chicken volumes rose 7%, roasting beef by 18% and pork was up 25%.

“With many Christmas gatherings this year being smaller than usual, it is no surprise that smaller cuts did particularly well,” Ms Randall said.

“Despite shoppers buying smaller joints, an increase in the number of households buying roasting joints meant we still saw volume increases across most proteins.”

Separate polling by IGD found that half of shoppers want to return to a normal Christmas for 2021.


Overall butchers sales grew by 22% in the 52 weeks to 27 December compared with a year earlier.

The trend benefitted both red meat and poultry, the AHDB’s Rebecca Gladman explained. She added that the sales growth down to several reasons – initially a reluctance to use big supermarkets.

“Over time there has also been a growing desire to support local businesses; nearly two-thirds of shoppers who bought meat from a butcher last year said that supporting a local business was a key reason for doing so.”