Shoppers flocked from chicken to lamb for Easter 2021 as red meat sales soared

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Traditional roast lamb was once again the flavour of Easter this year, as more shoppers switched from chicken to lamb than any other meat1.

AHDB analysis shows that compared to the strict restrictions of last year, 2021’s more normal festivities were a winner for all red meat categories. Meaty growth was seen in roasting volume sales across beef (45 per cent), lamb (42 per cent) and pork (25 per cent), while whole chicken sales declined for the first time in years.

Pork roasting joints also gained considerably on 2019 figures, seeing a 36 per cent increase in volume sales. Likely due to many watching their spending, with 42 per cent saying they are more price conscious than they were pre-Covid2.

The Nations eagerness to celebrate and indulge this Easter was reflected in the significant growth in seasonal foods like Easter eggs and hot cross buns. Unsurprising as the first easing of restrictions on Monday 29 March meant that loved ones could come together for the first time since November 2020.

Butchers shops also felt the benefits of a more sociable Easter, with shopper numbers hitting a five-year high. Sales of roasting joints and whole birds were up by 15 per cent on 2020, and 20 per cent on 20191.

AHDB’s Retail Insight Analyst Grace Randall said: “Easter is a key celebration for all roasting joints, particularly lamb, with 15 per cent of annual sales coming from the Easter period alone. Last year, many didn’t celebrate Easter or turned to chicken due to lockdown restrictions, but this year we have certainly seen a significant return to lamb.

“The rules of only mixing outside brought a new opportunity to Easter this year by the way of BBQ’s, which we could see continuing into next year – weather dependant of course. Google searches for ‘BBQ’ boomed the weekend before Easter and volume sales of sausages, burgers, grills and steaks all grew from 2019 levels. This is certainly one to watch.”

AHDB’s new ‘Fire up for Summer’ campaign aims to inspire consumers to up their BBQ game by either trying new meats and cuts or experimenting with a new recipe, rub or marinade.

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