Retail Detail: what’s driving egg and poultry retail sales?

Poultry Business has teamed up with market research firm Kantar Worldpanel to provide PB’s readers with detailed insight and analysis into the retail market for eggs and poultry. 

Eggs are in value and volume growth, driven by a +2.8% increase in basket size, with shoppers having bought 10.5 eggs per trip on average over the past 12 weeks to 10 September, contributing £5.2 million to the category.

However, although shoppers are buying more per trip, the frequency of shopping trips declined -1%, partially offsetting the growth in basket size.

According to Kantar Worldpanel analyst Alan Creswell, free-range eggs were the main driver of this increase in basket size, with +4.5% growth which contributed £5.9m.

Along with continued inflation, prices are increasing through a reduction in promotions as well as a move away from barn eggs toward more expensive free range.

Free range eggs are in their fourth consecutive year of share growth and they continue to increase their dominance in the market while barn eggs fall away, says Creswell. “With increasing attention on animal welfare and given the relatively inexpensive cost of the premium products, we can expect free range and organic eggs to further pull away from barn eggs,” he says.

Poultry is in growth this period, driven by chicken breasts and, to a lesser extent, chicken legs. Chicken breasts have grown through an increase in average basket size. Lots of volume-based promotions have incentivised shoppers to buy more per trip, says Creswell.

The growth of chicken breasts is being tempered somewhat by the decline of whole chickens. Whole chicken is actually in volume growth but a drop in average price from temporary price reductions has meant that spend is down. In some categories this increase in promotional activity has led to incremental spend growth, such as chicken breasts. However, in some categories the drop in average price the promotions are causing is driving value out of the market, such as whole chickens.

Despite no discernible difference in promotional strategy, there has also been a move away from branded items, toward private label, which has a lower average price, thus also driving price down. During times of high inflation, shoppers continue buying the same volume but compromise by trading down. In this case, shoppers may well be attracted by the lower average price of private label chicken.

During the next 12 week period it will still be too early to see Christmas turkey entering the poultry market, so the focus will still be on chicken. In uncertain times, promotions and trading down have a big impact on the volume performance of categories, so we may continue to see this trend in the coming months.


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