Predictions for Christmas food trends 2023

Christmas is a notoriously expensive time of year, and as the ongoing challenges of the cost of living crisis continue to affect our food choices, this year’s Christmas dinners may look a bit different, informs the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Posted on Dec 03 ,00:10

Predictions for Christmas food trends 2023

Will shoppers continue to think carefully about the price of their plates? Or has all our saving this year been so we can treat ourselves and afford a blow out this Christmas? AHDB experts weigh in on their thoughts…

  • It’s possible more people will be choosing to eat out on Christmas day this year. As Covid limited this option in recent years, 2022 saw lots of people celebrating the lifting of restrictions with large gatherings in the home. However, now the ‘novelty’ of large home gatherings has worn off we may see a rise in the number of households choosing to dine at their local pubs and restaurants on Christmas day and avoiding the washing up at home.
  • Are Turkeys out? – The cheaper price tags of alternative roast options like gammon and chicken may sway shoppers away from traditional turkey this year. Data from IGD showed that 56% of UK shoppers who celebrated Christmas in 2022 had turkey as part of the Christmas meal, down from 60% in 2021 and predicted to decline further this year. We may also see some consumers choosing frozen over fresh, as AHDB data with YouGov recently showed that over 75% of consumers said that price has become a more important factor for them when choosing meat over the last year.
  • Savvy spending - Shoppers continue to be swayed by good deals and we expect this to continue for festive favourites. Butchers and those offering premium, more expensive products may suffer. Supermarkets always have big promotions around Christmas time, and the ones choosing to offer the greatest discounts this year should expect the most popularity. However, despite their lack of promotions, we think discount supermarkets are likely to be the Christmas shop location of choice for lots of shoppers, with many consumers trading down from their usual choice in an attempt to save money.
  • All the trimmings may be a thing of the past, with some shoppers predicted to have to choose between perceived ‘non-essential’ options like stuffing and pigs in blankets, instead of getting both with a more the merrier in the trolly attitude. Kantar data also suggested that more people may be attempting to make their own pigs in blankets, with sausage sales soaring around the festive season.
  • Trading down - While Christmas is often a time for trading up and a ‘treat ourselves’ attitude, tightening of the purse strings this year could mean that we instead see people trading down within tiers. For some there may be a mixture, choosing to trade up for certain aspects of their Christmas meal, such as the meat, but trade down in less obvious places, such as the cheese board. It’s clear however that consumers still care about quality even when shopping in the value tier ranges. There is still therefore a role for all tiers to play in-store, but we are likely to see standard and value tiers steal overall share this Christmas.
  • Will Christmas cheer start later? – As consumers continue to keep an eye on their spending, supermarkets may notice a delay on Christmas specific food being purchased. Food like mince pies, Christmas chocolates and holiday party food might not be purchased as early as in previous years, when people picked up these items as early as September. Instead, we may see shoppers saving these items for the Christmas runup, instead of enjoying them in the months before. We predict that Friday 22nd December will be the biggest grocery shopping day this year.

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