Christmas News-in-brief Roundup

By Freddie Dawson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: British frozen food, Frozen food sector, Cost

Not going cheep: The cost of Christmas dinner is nearly 10% more expensive this year
Not going cheep: The cost of Christmas dinner is nearly 10% more expensive this year
The rising cost of Christmas, a boost for frozen meat sales and tough times for confectionery firm Thorntons all feature in our festive news-in-brief round up.

The cost of Christmas dinner rises nearly 10%

The cost of the average Christmas dinner has risen by 7.5% compared with last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Drinks have risen the most with filter coffee now 20.9% more expensive at £2.95 per kg and an old world wine averaging £5.63 per bottle, 14.2% more than last year.

Turkey has risen 3.8% to £8.15 per kg. Families looking for alternatives will be paying 7.2% more for chicken this year, at £3.14 per kg.

Sausages and bacon have also increased significantly in price. Pork sausages are now £4.33 per kg, 5.6% more expensive than last year. Back bacon has gone up 6.2% to £9.11 per kg while gammon has jumped 10.3% to £7.08 per kg.

Vegetarians are slightly better off with the price of carrots and old potatoes falling 20.5% to .62 per kg and 10.4% to .60 per kg respectively. However, broccoli, cauliflower and frozen peas have all risen by about 5%.

Frozen food boosted by festive meat sales

Growth in the frozen food sector has been welcomed by the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF).

Data supplied by market researchers, Kantar World Panel has shown 5.2% year-on-year growth for the frozen food retail market.

Frozen meat, fish and pizza have all preformed well. Meat saw the biggest growth, up 5.5%, with a 2% increase in volume over the past 12 weeks. Brian Young, director of the BFFF, said: “In times of economic uncertainty, traditional foods do well as consumers are comforted by familiar things. Christmas could be the driving factor in this boom as people stock up on turkey and other festive meats.”

Celebrity endorsements helped frozen fish grow 3.4% in volume and 4.7% in value compared to 2010, Young said.

Frozen pizzas grew 3.6% in volume and 4.9% in value over the year, he added.

SMEs find opportunity in adversity

Lack of finance, heavy red tape plus unanticipated costs and interruptions have constrained growth and damaged long-term viability among small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMEs). However, some firms have thrived in the unsettled business environment, according to a new survey.

A study of SME businesses in the manufacturing, road freight, retail and business service sectors found that nearly a third (32%) have struggled because of the economic downturn. 16% of total respondents have cash flow issues and another 12% have difficulty getting finance.

Business interruptions over the last two years, such as adverse weather conditions and extra bank holidays also affected 48% of business, according to the survey, by insurer, RSA, in conjunction with the Warwick Business School. Regulations also resulted in unanticipated costs for 28% of total respondents.

However, 38% of responding SMEs still gained new business opportunities as a result of the difficult economic times.

Thornton’s profits melt away

Strong competition and weak consumer demand has lead chocolatier Thorntons to announce a profits warning ahead of its final year results due next year.

“Following continued weakness in consumer sentiment and high levels of promotional activity in the market place, the board now considers profits for its full year will fall short of current expectations​,” according to a trading update issue this week.

In the past financial year, the firm reported of £218.3M, with profits at £4.3M; 36% down on the figure reported in 2010.

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