Mid-week gains importance in pork’s battle for consumers

Pork is facing a challenge in terms of holding on to its share of the roast dinner market, although there are some definite mid-week roast dinner opportunities, not least to challenge the dominance of chicken within this sector, according to AHDB.

Based on figures produced by Kantar Usage, in-home roast dinner occasions have been in long-term decline in the face of strong growth for dish-based cuisines, which many see as offering a more convenient meal solution. Despite this, however, roast dinners registered a small growth of 0.6% in the year to July 2016, a gain which was worth the equivalent of an additional 8 million meal occasions.

“Chicken is by far the most popular protein consumed in a roast dinner, indeed there are more than double the number of occasions featuring this protein than the next most popular, which is beef,” said AHDB. “While chicken is not registering the fastest rate of growth, however, its dominance of the meal occasion means it’s contributing the biggest absolute gains. By contrast, pork and, in particular, lamb are losing presence.

“In addition to the growth of chicken, other areas of growth include the mid-week roast occasion which is growing by 2% in the latest 52-week period with convenience products, such as ready to cook roast and chilled prepared fruit and veg, growing at the same rate.”

AHDB also points out that while almost half of all roast occasions take place on Sunday, the popularity of eating the meal on this day is declining by 2% annually. This is again a challenging factor for the pork sector given that, although some of the lost Sunday dinners are being replaced by mid-week meals, it is chicken again that is fuelling the mid-week growth.

Even with the 2% Sunday roast decline, AHDB states that there is still no denying that the roast dinner remains one of the most popular meals for the nation’s consumer.

“The challenge for red meat, therefore, is to attack the over reliance on the declining traditional Sunday roast occasion alongside big opportunities for red meat is to challenge chicken’s dominance of the family mid-week occasion,” said AHDB.

“The continued development of smaller, more convenience-focused roasting solutions will also be key to success going forward.”

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