Ambient plant mince pies performed well as sales of in-store bakery (ISB) mince pies slumped dramatically in the run-up to Christmas, in a tough December all-round for the ISB sector.

According to data from Kantar (formerly TNS) Worldpanel, value sales of plant mince pies were up 5.5% in the four weeks to 27 December and the number of packs sold rose by 15.8%. In contrast, in-store bakery mince pies plummeted by 12.5% , with pack volumes down 22.7% over the same period.

At Vandemoortele, which produces 30 million puff pastry mince pies each year, commercial director Adrian Roberts said the firm had seen "strong growth" over the Christmas period. "Our puff pastry mince pies did really well in ISBs, but there was a shift away from ISB shortcrust mince pies to bought-in products, due to the enormous amount of promotional activity. Rather than buy eight ISB shortcrust mince pies for £1.50, people were buying two six-packs of bought-in mince pies on promotion for £2."

Total ISB sales declined in value by nearly 3% in the four weeks to 27 December, according to Kantar, compared to the same period in 2008, with ISB bread falling 7.4% and morning goods down by 4.4%. Cakes and pastries were up 3.3% and total plant sales were up in value by 3.6%.