While Kantar Worldpanel’s latest market report indicates a volume drop for Meat, Fish and Poultry (MFP), both bacon and fresh processed poultry show strong performances.

According to Kantar, it has been a “difficult first quarter” for the MFP market with overall volumes dropping as shoppers move their spend into other markets.

In the latest data report covering the 12 weeks to 25th March, the only categories indicating growth are fresh processed meat and poultry, driven by the resurgent bacon category and the consistent strong performance of fresh processed poultry.

Kantar suggests that the ‘Beast from the East’ played havoc with normal shopping patterns and MFP was no different. This market took a hit, being less likely to be stockpiled than other categories.

The key fresh categories in MFP saw volumes down as shoppers picked up more convenient categories which could be stored for longer and with less effort.

Frozen processed poultry, meanwhile, saw a strong uplift over the period, with volumes up 18%, with strong investment from both brands and private label helping to drive the category.

A closer look at the primary meat and poultry proteins shows that only chicken is growing in volume terms, as beef, lamb and pork all continue to decline.

Inflation in chilled fish has reduced significantly in recent periods and this is stemming overall volume declines.

Nathan Ward, business unit director for MFP, commented: “The primary meat and poultry market continues to see an overall decline, driven by 822,000 fewer trips. Shoppers continue to be engaged with the market with almost nine out of ten shoppers buying it in the last three months.

“What we are seeing are fewer trips, with shoppers increasingly going for other, more convenient, options, which see greater investment as brands and manufacturers look to address the flexitarian trend with new ranges and products. Red meat continues to struggle in volume terms, but lamb and pork have seen value grow as inflation further impacts these markets.”

He continued: “In primary markets, chicken continues buck the trend, with falling prices and rising volumes. Promotions are key to this dynamic, with promotional volumes up 7% on last year as we see more investment in meal deals – up 17% and TPRs – up 8%. Chicken breasts are the main beneficiary of this investment, with overall volumes up 5% and promotions up 37%.

“This has brought in more shoppers with 52% of the population buying them in the last 12 weeks, an increase of almost 300,000 shoppers on last year.”

Kantar’s next update will include the impact of Easter, usually a big fixture of the MFP calendar.