A Christmas pudding on fire

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Supermarket sales of Christmas puddings rose by value and volume in 2022, marking a turnaround in fortunes for the traditional festive treat.

Brits bought about a million more Christmas puddings in 2022 than the previous year, a rise of 2.7% year on year, according to Kantar data [52w/e 25 December 2022].

With cost inflation pushing up the price of puddings, value sales rose from £42m in 2021 to £45m in the past year, an increase of 7.3%.

The performance sees a revival in the fortunes of the traditional festive treat, as Christmas pudding sales had fallen almost 30% – or £11.2m – between 2017 and 2021. The decline prompted some to ask whether the Christmas pudding was falling out of fashion.

Manufacturers were justifiably confident, with Matthew Walker insisting Christmas puddings are still a firm favourite.

“Far from falling out of favour, they are still very much part of the Christmas festivities and are the main dessert served on the day,” said Kirstie Jamieson, UK marketing director at Matthew Walker owner Valeo Foods.

The category has benefitted from NPD offering new twists on the traditional recipe, with products on this shelf including Aldi Specially Selected Firecracker Pudding that is infused with an orange and chilli flavour sauce, an M&S Cherry & Orange Liqueur Christmas Pudding Wreath, and Morrisons The Best Panettone Christmas Pudding with a Black Cherry Sauce.

In contrast to the boom in puddings, mince pie sales declined in 2022, with six million few packs sold last year than in 2021, representing a 6.2% decline.

Price rises more than made up for the decline in volume, however, with sales up 12.4% year on year, from £118m to £132m.

The performance of mince pies reflected the wider grocery market at Christmas, with Kantar reporting total volume sales at supermarkets down 1% year on year, but value sales up 9.4%.

“Monthly grocery sales were a whopping £1.1bn higher in December versus last year, breaching the £12bn mark for the first time,” explained Kantar retail and consumer insight head Fraser McKevitt.

“Value sales are up significantly but grocery price inflation is the real driving factor behind this rather than increased purchasing.”