Both fresh primary meat and poultry and fresh processed meat and poultry grew in volume over the 12 weeks to 28th January, with the latter growing faster than the wider grocery market and inflation.

According to Kantar Worldpanel, despite the ‘Veganuary’ campaign which took place across one month of the aforementioned period, the majority of households bought more meat and poultry over the period, indicating that any suggested rise of vegan and vegetarian diets “does not necessarily mean consumers are moving away from meat overall”.

Looking at fresh primary meat and poultry, the analysts found differences in performance, with poultry growing volumes, while red meat saw volumes drop in beef and lamb.

Fresh primary meat and poultry was up 1.5% in volume, with chicken being up by 4.1% and turkey by 4%, while fresh processed meat and poultry saw volumes rise by 1.7%, with bacon driving volume growth at 2.1%.

Nathan Ward, business unit director for Meat Fish and Poultry, commented: “The Christmas period clearly has a significant effect on the 12 week trends, but there is strong growth outside of Christmas dinner, especially for chicken which is seeing prices fall and volumes rise.

“Shoppers have seen average prices fall 16p per kilo, which has helped to add 466,000 more shoppers and 1.6 million more trips compared to last year.”

According to Ward, the growth of chicken is not driven by shoppers buying whole birds for a traditional Sunday roast, with chicken legs, chicken breasts and chicken wings all seeing volume growth, at 11.4%, 2.5% and 5.2% respectively.

Looking at beef and lamb, prices have risen above the market average, with beef prices being up 18p per kilo and lamb 40p per kilo.

Kantar Worldpanel noted that roasting cuts are “driving the decline, whilst mince and steak remain buoyant, with promotional support helping to bolster volumes”.

Fish impacted by inflation

Meanwhile, chilled fish volumes continued their downward trend, with long-term inflation still affecting the category.

Ward said: “Chilled fish has continued to suffer in volume terms as long term inflation affects the category. Christmas didn’t provide the same level of uplifts for added value, shellfish or smoked fish, which are all seeing significant volume losses.

“We would usually expect to see healthier eating trends help the fish category, but this January the category is swimming against the tide, particularly as other proteins sharpen their promotional focus and offer to meet a wide range of needs across their cuts.”