Gravy train overtaken by stock sales despite Christmas

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Gravy British cuisine

Gravy should go up market to beat off the challenge from stocks, said Mintel
Gravy should go up market to beat off the challenge from stocks, said Mintel
Gravy sales are losing out to stock, despite the Christmas boost, according to new figures from market research group Mintel.

While gravy remains popular at Christmas and with Sunday roasts, sales have risen by just 2% in the past year to reach £141M and only by 8% in the past five years.

But sales of stock – in various formats – have climbed by 10% in the past year alone. Sales have soared by 51% in value to reach a tasty £131M over the same five-year period.

Mintel predicts the surge will continue with total stock sales reaching £176M by 2018.

Alex Beckett, Mintel senior food and drink analyst, said: “While gravy is the mainstay of traditional British cuisine and acts as an accompaniment to the Christmas dinner or Sunday roast, these mealtimes are far from everyday meals.

‘Lacklustre performance’

“The lacklustre performance of many red meat sectors is also likely to have played a role in struggling sales of gravy. In contrast, stocks have benefited from an increase in variety of formats such as jelly and liquid, as well as a robust interest in scratch cooking.”

Researchers revealed that while Britons take pride from creating a genuinely scratch-cooked meal, we don’t mind using pre-made stock as a time-saving alternative to boiling beef bones. “Brands have embraced modern formats, with jellies, pouches, pastes and powders grabbing consumers’ interest,” ​said Beckett.

“The stocks market is also well positioned to benefit from the increase in the number of over-55s, the biggest users of stock.”  

65% of all gravy users

Mintel’s research revealed that 65% of all Britons are gravy users. The brown stuff is most popular in the north of England and Scotland, where it is favoured by 70% of the population.

But fewer than two-thirds (62%) of those in the south west and Wales admit to using gravy.

Consumers’ growing interest in the provenance of their gravies and stocks, was also revealed by the research. Nearly one third (31%) of users preferred stocks made from British ingredients. That figure rose to 41% in the over-55 age group. 

Nearly one-in-five (17%) users believed labelling should convey more information about the ingredients of gravy or stock, reflecting “a broader, post-horsemeat scandal interest in British-sourced meat ingredients,” ​said Mintel. 

But gravy could fight off the challenge from stock by going more upmarket. “Looking to the future, elevating the overall status of gravy with more of a gourmet positioning offers an avenue for manufacturers to encourage greater growth and improve usage levels,”​ said Beckett.

Meanwhile, TV mogul and X-Factor ​creator Simon Cowell told the Daily Mirror recently​ he always stocks up on Bisto gravy granules during visits to the UK.


Gravy facts

  • Gravy made from granules and powder is the most popular – used by 57% of Britons.
  • 13% of Britons use gravy pastes and sauce.
  • 9% prefer ready-to-use gravy and liquid jelly.
  • Just a quarter (24%) of those living in the north and Scotland agree gravy suits only a limited variety of dishes.


Source: Mintel

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