Christmas cake and pudding sales have slumped in the run up to Christmas, down 5.3% on last year for the two weeks to 12 December.

The figures, released by retail data provider IRI, show an equally glum picture for the rest of the food industry, with overall sales down 1.3% to £3.5bn and sales of bacon, gammon and sausages, which were linked to cancer in a World Health Organization (WHO) report, down 13.2%.

The only category to buck the trend is alcohol, with sales of beer, wine and spirits up 3.3% to £630m. Spirits performed especially strongly with sales rising 3.8% to £200m.

Martin Wood, head of strategic insight, retail solutions and innovation at IRI, said: “While consumers get into the spirit of Christmas, literally in many cases, it seems that some of the more traditional Christmas categories are in decline, including cakes and desserts, while Christmas baking items are also down.

“This could be down to people taking a more healthy approach to the big day but it’s probably a little too early to say whether this trend will continue and we expect figures to bounce back during a busy Christmas shopping period this week.”