Veganuary fails to impact meat, fish and poultry sales

The first sales update of 2019 shows that despite wall-to-wall coverage, ‘Veganuary’ has failed to impact the overall volumes for meat, fish and poultry sold in January.

The figures by Kantar Worldpanel cover the 12 weeks leading up to January 27 and compare sales year-on-year.

A spokesman for the retail analytics firm explained that although there is a lot of “positive healthy intent”, there was no big change in purchasing trends.

The month-long Veganuary social media campaign led by vegan activists encourages consumers to give up meat, milk and other animal produce.

Plant-based sales did increase, however, the figures showed this did not take away from primary and processed meats.

Health conscious shoppers are helping to drive vegetable sales, but are not hitting the meat, fish and poultry markets to the level analysts expected.

Nathan Ward, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Christmas is still lurking in the figures, but despite the media profile of Veganuary, the impact on our market is relatively low.

“There is limited evidence of us becoming a nation of vegetarians and vegans, with only beef, lamb and turkey seeing volume declines in the latest period.

“Processed products have seen a slightly stronger decline, with bacon the largest driver of this volume loss as we see 4.2 million fewer trips containing bacon.

When we focus on the last four weeks when Veganuary was running, we’ve seen flat volumes for primary meat and poultry, with fish still in strong growth, so any impact is minimal on the core categories.

“What we are seeing is the continued impact of uncertainty and retailer price wars driving down prices and causing shoppers to be more conscious of their spending.”

Ward added: “Chilled fish continues to show a strong performance as volume outstrips value growth, attracting 332,000 more shoppers and 2.6 million more trips.

“All of the sectors are seeing volume growth except shellfish which is seeing static volumes. Salmon, cod and pollock are the key species driving volume growth, as natural drives salmon, breaded drives pollock and cod grows across all sectors except added value.”

Ward explained that while promotional sales were rising, up 4% in volume, it was mainly keener everyday pricing which stimulated growth with non-promoted sales up 5%.

He added that the decline of beef volumes was mainly driven by steaks, which are down 9.7%.

“Hopefully, the in-store activity for Valentine’s Day will help turn around this performance. Roasting volumes continue to fall, but this is part of a long-term decline for roasting joints overall,” he said.

“Lamb continues to see the core roasting joints decline (leg down 4% and shoulder down 3%) and lamb chops down 8%, with fewer shoppers the key driver of these sectors.

“Chicken continues to drive volume and pull away from red meat volumes, with 390,000 more shoppers and two million more trips. Legs and breasts continue to drive growth attracting 470,000 more shoppers to breasts and 280,000 more to legs.”