Christmas pud and mince pie

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Supermarket shoppers bought fewer Christmas puddings and mince pies this November than they did last year, according to new sales data.

It seems consumers are leaving their festive shopping later this year as they try to manage budgets in the run-up to Christmas Day, retail analyst firm Kantar has reported.

“Sales of mince pies, Christmas puddings and Christmas confectionery are worth 2% more than last year, but this rise can largely be put down to higher prices,” said Kantar retail and consumer insight head Fraser McKevitt.

“If we look at the amount of people buying these items and the overall number of purchases made, then sales are actually down on 2021.”

The number of packs of mince pies sold has fallen 7% compared to last November, while the number of Christmas puddings sold is down 1% year.

Christmas puddings are on a downward trend in the supermarkets, with value sales falling by nearly 30% over the past five years wiping £28.2m off market value. 

Read: Is the Christmas pudding falling out of fashion?

The slow start to mince pie shopping comes despite a strong pipeline of innovation from suppliers and retailers, as British Baker reported this week.

Kantar also reported that, as well as starting their Christmas shopping later, consumers were turning to own label food to help manage costs.

“We’re seeing yet more evidence of the coping strategies shoppers are adopting to mitigate rising costs, and in particular own label sales are growing at pace, now up 11.7% year on year,” added McKevitt.

Sales of the cheapest own label lines have soared by 46.3%, according to Kantar data, but McKevitt said demand for treats was also driving growth in premium own label goods, with sales up by 6.1%.

The data revealed a 0.1% dip in overall grocery inflation in November, but this was the first fall in 21 months. Shoppers will have to spend an extra £60 in December to buy the same items as they did last year.

“The cost of a traditional Christmas dinner for four has hit £31 in 2022, an example of just how much rising prices are impacting people at the tills and in their daily lives,” said McKevitt.

Because of the combination of inflation and festive spending, Kantar expects this month to be the biggest ever for take-home grocery sales.

“December looks set to be a record-breaking month with sales going above the £12bn mark for the first time. We’re expecting Friday 23 December to be the busiest day for pre-Christmas shopping.”