Retail detail: organic eggs are the main driver of growth in eggs

Poultry Business has teamed up with market research firm Kantar to provide PB’s readers with detailed insight and analysis into the retail market for eggs and poultry. We take a look at what has been driving sales in supermarkets in the past 12 weeks.

By Charlie Clark, Kantar analyst

Over the past 12 weeks, eggs have grown by +8.3% versus last year. Organic eggs were the main driver behind this growing at +20.6%. More shoppers have started to purchase organic eggs and in larger quantities. Free-range eggs continued to perform well, growing by +10.8%. Like organic, this was driven by increased penetration. The growth in eggs overall was slightly offset by decline in barn eggs. The sector suffered from low frequency and thus saw value decline of -0.4%.

This period covers the time when many shoppers were panic buying items as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is possible that this strong growth is likely to be a result of these changes in shopper behaviour and may not continue in the coming months.

Average egg prices declined -2.0% year-on-year, during this period. All tiers followed this pattern. Free-range value was down -3.5% year-on-year. Barn and organic also saw a fall in price year-on-year at -2.6% and -6.7% respectively.

This has been influenced by the fact that category promotions have grown by +4.1%, with organic eggs the key driver behind the uplift. Interestingly, the amount of free-range eggs sold on promotion declined but the average prices also declined.

Poultry meat

Over the latest 12 weeks, total poultry has performed extremely well, with sales up +8.8% year-on-year. As prices have been lower, this has been purely driven by increased volumes, with more shoppers have been buying into the category and purchasing poultry more often.

Although chicken has performed extremely well, growing at +7.8% year-on-year, the growth has been slightly stalled by the decline in pieces (-15.4%). Turkey, however, has seen double digit growth across all different cuts. Turkey roll/roast and whole turkeys have grown most significantly at +56.9% and +27.5% respectively. Other poultry has also performed very well year-on-year growing at +26.5%.

For the poultry industry this period, it should be remembered that changes in shopper behaviour will undoubtedly have an impact. The stockpiling and panic buying as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK would have caused shoppers to buy large quantities which would most likely be frozen or cooked and then frozen. As such it is possible that sales may drop off significantly in the next month, as shoppers’ freezers will be fully stocked.

In addition, the growth in turkey and other poultry is possibly because shops had experienced shortages of chicken. As one of the most popular proteins, it is likely that retailers ran out chicken before turkey and consequently more households had to buy turkey instead of chicken to fill the protein void. Therefore, growth in turkey and other poultry is potentially likely to slow down even more significantly in the coming months.


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