Turkey supplies have been affected by low margins for farmers as well as avian flu © Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Turkey supplies have been affected by low margins for farmers as well as avian flu © Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Consumers facing 'one of the most expensive Christmas dinners' in years

5 December 2022

UK consumers are facing the most expensive Christmas dinner in a decade against the backdrop of record inflation.

The Mintec UK Christmas Dinner Index – which includes the main meal, Yorkshire pudding and Christmas pudding – shows the cost of the traditional festive meal has gone up 22.5%. This is the highest “in at least 10 years”, according to Bloomberg.

The price of main meal ingredients is up 28.6%, due to inflationary pressures, the Russia-Ukraine war and Covid disruption, Mintec said.

Feed, fertiliser and electricity costs were significant factors, and Brexit-related labour shortages played a role.

In 2021 the index rose 9.2% and in 2020 it rose 7.2%.

Turkey prices averaged £6/kg in November 2022, up 29.7% year-on-year. Prices were up 7.7% month-on-month due to the continued outbreak of avian flu. Approximately 2.3m poultry birds, including chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese, have been culled in the UK, with turkeys being the most vulnerable.

The average price of pork increased 38.7% year-on-year to £1.97/kg in November 2022. The pork supply decreased during October and November, as lower margins for farmers have led producers to reduce herd sizes throughout the year.

The price of potatoes stood at 18p/kg, up 24.1% year-on-year. This was driven by higher input costs as well as a drop in production due to a prolonged summer drought.

Carrots hit 53p/kg, up 16.4% due to labour shortages caused by Brexit and Covid, Mintec said, as well as low margins for farmers. Parsnip prices rose 16.7% to £1.26/kg, due to similar drivers.

The cost of Yorkshire pudding ingredients rose 7.2%, primarily due to a significant jump in wheat prices.

Christmas pudding ingredients rose 2.2%, with sultana, raisin and sugar price increases counterbalancing a drop in almond costs.

Mintec’s UK Plant-Based Christmas Dinner Index increased by 13.8%, affected by the wider inflationary environment.

Overall energy prices remained the key factor in the months ahead, said analysts.

“Unsurprisingly, consumers in the UK are set to purchase one of the most expensive Christmas meals in recent years following the consistent inflationary pressures that resulted in the UK inflation rate for food and alcoholic beverages reaching a 42-year high in September 2022,” said Mintec.

“Most food commodity prices have risen significantly this year compared to a year, ago, thus cost will be a big factor as UK consumers plan for their Christmas meals this year.”

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