Fresh processed meat and poultry were described as the “real winner” for Christmas, with natural fish marking strong value growth, in what has already been a record festive period in shoppers’ spending.

According to Kantar Worldpanel, natural fish remained the largest category, with the 7.9% increase in value masking the falling volumes in the market.

Salmon’s value was also up, but volumes were slightly down in the face of higher prices driven by inflation.

Shellfish and smoked fish are also seeing “steep” volume declines of 6.3% and 8.8% respectively.

On the other hand, fresh and primary meat and poultry grew in both value and volume, along with sliced cooked meats, which, despite a 0.1% drop in volume terms, increased value sales by 3.5% compared to last year.

Nathan Ward, business unit director for Meat, Fish and Poultry at Kantar Worldpanel, commented: “Turkey performed well over the Christmas period; even after a strong 2016, 184,000 more shopping trips included turkey this year and the average trip cost 40p more.

“Whole birds and crowns enjoyed growth on last year as shoppers continued to pick up the classic choice for Christmas dinner.”

The strong performance of pork continued with volume and value growing ahead of the market at 1.5% and 6.3% respectively.

Fresh pork is one of the top ten markets in grocery being affected by inflation, with volume increasing behind strong value figures, with shoppers taking 1.75 million more trips and steaks, leg joints and mince driving volume growth.

In the meantime, fresh chicken continues to be one of the strongest deflationary markets, according to Kantar Worldpanel, with falling prices in breast, legs and whole birds bringing average prices down by 3%.

Ward added: “Beef and lamb growth rates were significantly ahead of the 12-week figures and turkey growth accelerated in the run up to the festivities.

“As you might expect, the traditional ‘Christmas Dinner’ categories fared well, with turkey and other poultry (dominated by duck) seeing double digit growth in the 4 week period.”

On the processed side of the market, bacon was up 4.7% and sausages grew by 6%.