Coronavirus: Public spending more money on meat and dairy

Red meat, dairy and potatoes have all fared well during the crisis, according to analysts
Red meat, dairy and potatoes have all fared well during the crisis, according to analysts

The public are spending more of their money on meat, dairy and potatoes throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, according to analysis by the AHDB.

The three food categories have all fared well throughout the crisis, with grocery spend offsetting losses from food service closures during lockdown.

According to analysts at AHDB, the pandemic has led to a major shift in consumer buying and consumption behaviours, leading to changes in how people cook and feed their families.

It predicts that total potato volumes in the market, considering both retail and out-of-home, have risen 8% year-to-date, with grocery volumes of fresh potatoes up 108kt over the last six months and frozen potatoes 47kt.

During the same period, pork, beef, lamb as well as most dairy products have also enjoyed a significant uplift in retail sales.

For lamb, takeaway and delivery gains have also bolstered overall volumes, compensating for eating-out losses.

AHDB senior retail insight manager, Kim Malley said meat, dairy and potatoes have had an 'incredible response' to the shift in consumer demand.

“While eating-out has been severely affected by the pandemic and led to restaurants and cafes closing overnight, the retail spend on red meat, potatoes and dairy has been strong enough to offset many of the losses.”

These findings were revealed during AHDB’s first series of Consumer Insight webinars which looked at the changing market landscape for meat, dairy and potatoes.

Analysts explained how cheese has done well with retail volumes up 16.5 percent in the last six months.

During the same period, butter was up 23.6%, with cream stealing the show at 31.8%. However, due to category size, milk accounted for three quarters of the volume growth.

In retail, beef and pork grew in line with the market, with beef up 12% and pork rising 11%. Lamb has seen smaller growth at 0.4%, but this covers a lockdown Easter and prior to Covid-19, volumes were down 6%.

Ms Malley said the eating out market would not recover any time soon, especially in light of the new restrictions announced at the weekend.

"Therefore, it is vital that we make the most of these channels to grow volumes of all our sectors,” she said.