Frozen fish and meat sales suffer a hit as fresh meat enjoys a 3% increase

Fresh meat sales have had a 3% jump in retail sales for the start of this year, with frozen fish and frozen meat taking a hit among Irish grocery consumers, Bord Bia has advised its food sector industry clients.

Peter Duggan of Bord Bia’s strategic information services unit has informed his food sector clients frozen poultry is the notable exception to consumers’ marked swing away from frozen meats and readymade meals in the 12 weeks to St Patrick’s Day.

“Frozen fish sales were back by 14%, frozen meat was back 11% and frozen prepared meals were back by 19% compared to the corresponding period last year,” Mr Duggan told subscribers to Bord Bia’s Food Alert. “Consumers have begun to switch to alternative protein sources, with frozen poultry sales 60% higher, and fresh poultry sales 11% higher, with turkey being the standout performer within this category.

Fresh meat sales recorded an increase of 3% in expenditure, reflecting strong beef and poultry sales.”

The Bord Bia analyst also notes for the latest four-week period ending Mar 17, the fresh meat category continued to perform well, with sales 1% higher. Sales of frozen ready meals in the period were 40% behind the same time last year.

“Frozen poultry sales were almost treble the same period a year earlier,” said Mr Duggan. “However, it should be noted this is from a small base.

“The strong performance for poultry is not just restricted to frozen: fresh poultry sales were 8% higher during the period.”

Meanwhile, citing figures from a grocery market survey by Kantar Worldpanel, Bord Bia’s latest industry alert notes fresh produce makes up 14% of the grocery market which includes vegetables and fruit categories. The retail grocery market was valued at €8.9bn to the year ending Mar 2013 — a growth of 0.2% on the previous year.

The total fresh produce retail category is currently valued at €1.23bn to the year ending Mar 2013 which is a 3% increase in value on the previous year. An increase in the volume purchased and the overall average price have contributed to this growth. Both the volume per buyer and the frequency of purchase have increased, with the latter up by 3.6%.

The retail vegetable market was valued at €525m which is showing a modest increase of 0.2% on the previous year, ie the 12 months ending March 2012.

While there has been an increase in the volume purchased, the overall average price paid is lower. Both volume per buyer and the frequency of purchase have increased.

Similarly the spend on fruit has also shown a modest increase with this category valued at €526m, up 0.5% year on year. Volume per buyer for fruit also increased as did the purchase frequency (by over 4%).

The potato category has shown the greatest value sales increase (up 28%) but with the volume remaining relatively static.

This increase is linked to a much tighter supply situation for potatoes due to reduced production yields in the 2012 growing season brought about by the adverse weather and subsequent growing conditions.


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