Inflation has not dented consumers' desire for treats ©  Burke/Triolo Productions/Getty Images
Inflation has not dented consumers' desire for treats © Burke/Triolo Productions/Getty Images

What will be the average cost of a Christmas dinner?

7 December 2021

The average price of a UK Christmas dinner is expected to be 3.4% higher than last year, according to research. 

Supply chain difficulties mean the average cost of a Christmas meal for four – featuring a frozen turkey, trimmings and wine – will total £27.48, according to data analytics firm Kantar. 

The research found grocery prices rose 3.2% in November, the highest rate of inflation Kantar has recorded since June 2020.

The price of turkey has risen by 7%, sprouts by 5% and Christmas pudding by 5%. 

The report comes after months of warnings from British food producers that shoppers will see price hikes over the festive season. Worker and HGV driver shortages as well as CO2 shortages have created the “perfect storm” for the food sector.

Despite higher prices Kantar said: “Price inflation doesn’t seem to be denting [consumers'] desire to treat themselves and loved ones.”

It found supermarket premium own-label ranges, including Tesco Finest and Asda Extra Special, were the fastest growing ranges in store.

The report said: “Consumer behaviour hasn’t caught up with these changes though. Habits we’d expect to see shift, like swapping branded products for own label or seeking out promotions, haven’t altered just yet.”

While grocery sales were down year-on-year, dropping 3.8% in 2021 compared to 2020, last year's sales were especially high due to tighter restrictions in Wales and Scotland and England's Christmas lockdown. 

“Circumstances are very different this year,” the report said, adding grocery spend was 7% higher in the 12 weeks to 30 November compared to the same period in 2019.

A British Meat Processors Association spokesperson told Supply Management: “The recent food price rises reported by Kantar have come as no surprise, and BMPA has been warning about this for quite some time. 

“Britain’s meat processing industry has suffered deteriorating capacity and morale as a result of the chronic labour shortage. Government doesn’t understand the current make-up of the UK labour market, which has undergone a huge structural change since Brexit and Covid began taking effect.”

The BMPA called on government to allow greater numbers of international workers into the country to help alleviate the UK’s supply difficulties, and said there was “no quick fix” in time for Christmas. 

The spokesperson contined: “The government needs to face reality and allow more workers into the country to take up these jobs immediately. The kind of experienced workers we need simply don’t exist in the UK right now and it will take the next two years to recruit and train British people.

“This is a two year re-balancing exercise, not a quick fix before Christmas and, come New Year’s Day, this labour crisis will still be strangling the British food industry.”

Ian Wright, chief executive at Food and Drink Federation, told SM the UK’s food chains have been facing “unprecedented challenges” and said the lack of measures taken by government to alleviate HGV driver and labour shortages meant the problems were being exacerbated for Christmas.

Wright said: “The UK’s farm-to-fork food and drink supply chain continues to face unprecedented challenges due to the lack of required workers and sharp rises in production costs. 

“We have warned for some time that in the absence of short-term measures from the government to boost the supply of labour, this disruption will impact both the choice and prices faced by shoppers.

“In communities that are located further away from distribution hubs, where a single lorry doesn’t show up at the local supermarket, that could mean hundreds of products aren’t available when people do their Christmas shop.”

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