Turkey prices have risen 6% because unusually hot weather stopped eggs hatching © Getty Images/EyeEm
Turkey prices have risen 6% because unusually hot weather stopped eggs hatching © Getty Images/EyeEm

Wholesale Christmas dinner cost down by 1%

6 December 2019

High summer temperatures and the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in China caused the cost of meat to soar, but this has been offset by falling vegetable prices. 

The annual UK Christmas Dinner Index, conducted by Mintec, found the wholesale cost of this year’s Christmas dinner has fallen by 1% compared to 2018.

Turkey prices were up by 6% year-on-year after an unusually warm summer which resulted in less turkey eggs hatching. UK pork prices increased by 10%, fuelled by surging demand for pork shipments to China following an outbreak of ASF.

Mintec said the high cost of meat meant the Christmas main course in isolation will cost around 3% more than in 2018, but the overall meal would be cheaper due to lower prices for vegetables and the ingredients for Yorkshire and Christmas puddings. 

The wholesale cost of potatoes is down 20% y-o-y, despite heavy rain and flooding in the last few months cutting production. Predictions by Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board put potato produce at under 5m tonnes for the second year running, down on the 5.6m tonne average. 

Weather conditions have also impacted the price of brussels sprouts which are up by 11% y-o-y. However, carrots and parsnips are down by 28% and 26% respectively. 

Yorkshire pudding ingredients fell by 3% year-on-year, and ingredients for Christmas pudding also fell by 9% due to lower costs for sugar and California raisins.

Mintec's calculations are at odds with those of CGA and Prestige Purchasing, who in November warned this Chrismas would be "the costliest yet".

Seperately, Good Housekeeping revealed the cost of festive staples at UK supermarkets dropped by 8% despite political and economic uncertainty.

Six of the eleven supermarkets analysed by GH dropped prices on Christmas essentials compared to 2018. A basket from Iceland will cost £9.08 less than last year. 

The magazine found Aldi’s Christmas dinner to be the cheapest, setting shoppers back £24.78 to feed a family of eight. In second place was Iceland at £25.25 and third was Lidl (£26.22). The most expensive dinner can be found at Marks & Spencer, costing shoppers £38.35. 

In October, the British Meat Producers Association warned the supply of pigs in blankets could be threatened as a result of labour shortages due to Brexit.

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