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Quarter of evening meals do not contain meat or fish

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Quarter of evening meals do not contain meat or fish

More than a quarter of evening meals do not contain meat or fish as trends such as Veganuary reach mainstream grocery choices, supermarket sales figures show.

During January, one in 10 shoppers bought a meat-free ready meal, leading sales to rocket by 15% compared with the same time last year, while 29% of evening meals are now free of meat or fish, the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel show.

The “sustained interest” in vegan and vegetarian diets also saw sales of other fruit and vegetables grow significantly on this time last year, such as spinach, cherries and aubergine, up 43%, 25% and 23% respectively.

Healthy eating sales figures (Nick Ansell/PA)

Healthy eating sales figures (Nick Ansell/PA)

However, despite the renewed focus on healthy eating, the cold weather and flu outbreak took its toll on Britons, with sales of over-the-counter painkillers up 12% and cough sweets and liquids increasing by 17%.

Overall, grocery sales over the 12 weeks to January 28 increased in value by 3.4% compared with with 12 months ago, Kantar said.

Lidl was once again the UK’s fastest-growing retailer, increasing its market share by 0.5 percentage points and seeing sales climb by 16.3% on this time last year.

Aldi also increased sales by 16.2% to hold a market share of 6.9% – up 0.7 percentage points.

Tesco remained the fastest growing of the big four with sales up by 2.6%, although its market share fell by 0.3 percentage points to 27.8%.

Meanwhile, figures from analysts Nielsen show supermarket sales rose by the highest year-on-year rate for more than six months as inflation saw shoppers spend 4.2% more on groceries during the four weeks to January 27 than in the same period a year ago.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, said: “Inflation and New Year’s Eve falling within the reporting period helped supermarkets start 2018 in an encouraging fashion, following an extremely good Christmas.

“This offset the fact that most of the major supermarkets saw less visits than a year ago as shoppers are still in an economising mood and may have cut back on restocking the cupboards with household bills coming in after Christmas.”

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