The price of a Christmas dinner has risen by 3.4 per cent as food inflation reaches its highest level so far this year.
The average price of a festive meal for four is £27.48, with the price of a frozen turkey rising by 7 per cent and brussels sprouts and Christmas puddings 5 per cent more expensive than last year, according to figures from Kantar. However, not everything on the plate is more expensive with the price of carrots falling by 13 per cent and parsnips down by 6 per cent.
Overall grocery prices have risen by 3.2 per cent in the past four weeks, the highest rate of inflation recorded since June last year. Food producers have warned that inflation will reach about 5 per cent next year as they count the cost of higher wages due to labour shortages and rising costs of transport and raw materials, particularly in sugar, wheat, palm oil.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insights at Kantar, said that for the moment price inflation was not hitting consumer demand with most households eager to make up for last year’s Covid-stricken Christmas. “It’s clear that shoppers want to have some fun and make this Christmas extra special. Consumer behaviour hasn’t caught up with these changes though. Habits we’d expect to see shift, like swapping branded products for own label or seeking out promotions, haven’t altered just yet,” he said.
Kantar revealed that supermarkets’ premium own-label ranges were the fastest growing ranges in shops as customers indulge.
However, despite the early festive shopping total take-home grocery sales fell by 3.8 per cent over the 12 weeks to November 28 compared with last year, when the country was in lockdown. Despite this year-on-year slip grocery spending last month was still 7 per cent higher than in 2019.
Online grocery sales fell by 12.5 per cent in the four weeks to late November due to the comparisons with last year’s lockdown. It is expected that concerns around rising cases of the new Omicron variant will make shoppers start to purchase online again and limit their visits to stores.
Ocado sales fell by 2.4 per cent year on year during November but are 35 per cent higher than two years ago. Sainsbury’s sales fell by 5.3 per cent in November, Asda slipped by 5 per cent while Morrisons had the heaviest fall of the major grocers with sales falling by 7.1 per cent compared with last year. Tesco sales decreased by 1.4 per cent in November.