Lockdown retail boom fuels overall pigmeat sales growth

Strong retail sales during the lockdown period led to an overall 4% volume increase in pig meat sales over six months to early August, according to AHDB estimates based on Kantar data.

Retail sales of pork and pig meat products were up 13% (57,000 tonnes) in the 24 weeks ending August 9, in line with the total food and non-alcoholic drink uplift of 14%.

This was led by booming sales of bacon and sausages increased significantly, which accounted for almost 60% of the overall increase.

This is partly explained by the fact that in the first eight weeks of lockdown, up to May 17, there were an additional 16 million fry ups/cooked breakfasts eaten – an increase of 64%, Kantar data shows.

Out-of-home volumes

This outweighed declines in out of home sales. With cafés shut and big fast food brands temporarily closed, out of home pig meat volumes declined by 55% (70,000 tonnes) overall. Breakfasts (mainly full, cooked breakfasts) were the main driver of this, declining by 68%, as most people instead opted to cook their own at home.

Further losses came from pork-based pastry items (-54%), which includes sausage rolls, pasties and pies, as well as sandwiches containing ham, bacon or sausage (-50%).

AHDB retail insight manager Rebecca Gladman said: “The pork sector is not reliant on one main dish, as is generally the case with other sectors.

“There’s a diverse range of processed pig meat items on offer in the out-of-home market, and therefore there’s a variety of ways where growth can stem from. Primary pork tends to take more of a backseat to processed pig meat, particularly in the out-of-home market. This is especially the case at the moment, where processed pig meat has outpaced primary pork both out-of-home and in-home.

Read more about how pork compares to other categories in our here

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.