The UK Christmas Dinner price index – Turkeys and Pigs in Blankets are up, but Potatoes and Carrots are a bit down!

Food and beverage supply analytics firm Mintec tracks, compares and analyses commodity prices. They recently released their YOY price movements for our favourite seasonal meal – the Christmas dinner (of meat, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and traditional Christmas pudding) and compared them to last year. It makes for some interesting reading.

Here’s a snapshot of what’s changed YOY according to the Mintec Christmas Dinner Index:

Christmas Main Meal overall - UP 3%

Turkey – UP 6%

Pigs in blankets (pork) – UP 10%

Potatoes – DOWN 20%

Carrots – DOWN 28%

Brussel sprouts – UP 11%

Yorkshire puddings – DOWN 3%

 

Christmas Pudding overall – DOWN 9%

Sugar – DOWN 3%

Raisins – DOWN 36%

Sultanas – DOWN 2.8%

Almonds – UP 13%

Flour (wheat) – DOWN 14%

Eggs – STABLE 1%

Milk - DOWN 10.8%

While meat (turkey and pork) prices have gone up, a typical Christmas dinner is marginally cheaper this year. If broken down into main meal and pudding, the actual cost of the main meal has gone up a bit, by about 3%, but this is offset by the lower price of the Christmas pudding ingredients of raisins, sugar and milk, down 9%.

Looking at these price differences individually:

Turkey - higher than average summer temperatures resulted in lower turkey eggs hatching this season compared to last – no idea why, ask Mintec! Apparently turkey eggs in September were down at 1.3 million from 2.6 million in August but stable in October. As a result, the Mintec turkey prices were up 3% month-on-month and 6% year-on-year in November.

Pork - Rising pork exports have strengthened UK pork prices. UK pork exports from January to September totalled 178,751 tonnes, up 11% on last year. The outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China resulted in surging demand for pork imports, and ASF in some EU countries also meant more demand for UK pork, driving prices up 10% year-on-year in November.

Potatoes – The top growing regions have seen heavy rain over the past few weeks and floods have seen more potatoes abandoned in the ground. UK growers have struggled to get about 10,000 hectares of potatoes out. The British potato produce will be under 5 million tonnes for the second year running, as a result, Mintec UK potato prices increased by 11% month-on-month in November, although UK potato prices remain down 20% year-on-year.

Vegetables – the recent wet weather and severe flooding have also pushed the prices of carrots and Brussel sprouts up by 3% and 29% respectively in the last month, but carrots and parsnips remain significantly cheaper year-on-year.

Yorkshire pudding – luckily the good old Yorkshire pudding will cost less this year, with the index down by 3% year-on-year, because:

Wheat prices are lower this year, down 14% in November compared to the same time last year. Farmers are anticipated to have planted about 500,000 tonnes more wheat in 2019/20 to compensate for the low yields that resulted from last year’s summer heatwave. However, prices are now up 4% month-on-month, driven by higher exports. And Milk prices have declined year-on-year while Egg prices have remained relatively stable.

It is the Christmas pudding that has experienced the biggest decline since last year, because:

The price of white sugar on the London Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) declined by 3% year-on-year in November. The price decline seen in the past six months has been mainly driven by the large ending stocks from the 2018/19 season (mostly based in India). Californian raisin prices have seen a big drop in the past twelve months, they were selling at a large premium to Turkish raisins last season and the Raisin Bargaining Association and packers agreed to push up prices, consequently demand fell … how not to read the market!

So overall, with the main Christmas meal costing us a bit more this year, owing to higher turkey and pork prices, we might find we can indulge more in our cheaper Christmas puddings!

I wonder how these price dynamics might change for the nut roast consumer?

You can download the Mintec Food Category Management Guide here.

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