Kantar Worldpanel figures for Welsh lamb covering the 12 weeks to 4 October indicate British shoppers spent 15.5% more on lamb than during the same period last year and consumed 11% more by volume.
Taking the year as a whole, lamb sales had rebounded strongly after a disappointing Easter – traditionally a time of peak demand but which this year was badly impacted by lockdown restrictions on family gatherings, said HCC - Meat Promotion Wales.
Since then, consumers had found more time to cook at home, and lamb had been a popular choice. Total spend on lamb in Britain was now up 7.9% on the year to date, a period when HCC and retailers had invested in increased promotion in-store and via social media.
New consumers trying lamb
The figures suggested that the main reason for lamb’s growth in popularity is not only that existing consumers are buying more, but that new customers were trying it. The number of people purchasing lamb rose by 9%, with nearly a third of households buying it at least once during the 12-week period.
In addition, a strong year-on-year increase in volume sales of lamb was observed in households with children (+17.2%) and shoppers aged under 45 (+13.4%).
HCC data analyst Glesni Phillips said: “After instability in the markets earlier in the year due to the disruption of the foodservice and hospitality trade, lamb’s popularity has been a notable feature of the British retail market. Our marketing strategy has centred on responding to consumer trends in this very unusual year – working with famous chefs to encourage people to try out new ideas at home.
“We’re pleased that the data shows increasing numbers of families and younger consumers trying lamb. We’ll continue to target marketing at this group in the run-up to Christmas.”
In the context of a wider analysis of lessons learned from 2020 and expectations for the coming year, HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells told Food Manufacture the industry had been very adaptable: "Exports have been less severely hit than was initially feared. There was disruption in the spring, but Welsh Lamb exports to many countries – especially markets where there’s a large retail trade like Italy – have by now caught up with 2019. Growth in new markets we’ve targeted for investment, particularly the Middle East, has also continued almost unabated."
Look out for more analysis from Gwyn and other industry leaders online and in Food Manufacture's November print edition next week.
Case Study: Trailhead Fine Foods
Meanwhile, Welsh gluten-free beef jerky manufacturer Trailhead Fine Foods has secured an order to supply Selfridges's delicatessen sections in Oxford Street, London and Manchester Trafford stores.
The jerky, which is normally sold in 40g packs with Get Jerky branding, is being displayed in presentation dishes on the deli counters at the two stores.
Selfridges has chosen six of the eight Get Jerky flavours to feature in the stores - Original, BBQ, Spicy Chilli, Hot Smoked Chipotle, Teriyaki and Devil’s Wrath.
PGI Welsh Beef
Welshpool-based Trailhead Fine Foods’ handmade, artisan jerky is produced with responsibly sourced PGI Welsh Beef. It is high in protein, gluten-free and low in fat.
Trailhead Fine Foods’ managing director Arwyn Watkins said: “To secure a partnership with Selfridges demonstrates the resilience of the team at Trailhead Fine Foods in the pursuit of delivery excellence.”
Anna Zastapilo, food buyer at Selfridges, said: “Get Jerky is a great addition to our biltong and jerky range. The products are made with responsibly sourced beef from Wales and, as they are high in protein and low in fat, we expect them to be popular with customers looking for healthy options.”
Case Study: Radnor Preserves
Another artisan firm Radnor Preserves is launching eight flavours of product including Hand-Cut Orange & Date Marmalade and Strawberry & Rose El Hanout Preserve in Premium Stores of Spinneys in the United Arab Emirates next month.
Four pallets of marmalades and preserves have been ordered for the launch, and Spinneys will then roll out the range to a further ten stores across UAE in early 2021.
The deal was secured having met with the buyer initially at the TasteWales international food and drink trade event, and then developed business further at Gulfood on the Welsh Government Food & Drink Wales stand.
In September, Radnor Preserves also exported two pallets of preserves and marmalades to Macau for a new food hall launching there as part of a new complex in early 2021.
Larger premises in Newtown
To keep up with demand, the business has recently moved to larger premises in Newtown.
Joanna Morgan of Radnor Preserves said: “We’re thrilled to receive these overseas contracts for Spinneys in the Middle East and for the new Food Hall in Macau. It is a fantastic boost of confidence for us."
Lesley Griffiths, Welsh minister for environment, energy and rural affairs, said: “I would like to congratulate Radnor Preserves on all their achievements this year. They are a company who should be very proud of themselves and an excellent example of the drive and determination they’ve shown. It shows that Welsh food and drink businesses can continue to thrive in these challenging times, and we are here to help in any way we can.”
The company, founded by Joanna Morgan in 2010, started making jams and marmalades when she lived in a cottage with no electricity. Such was the subsequent demand to buy her products, she trialled them at local farmers’ markets with great success. Joanna has an all female-team who make each product by hand. All marmalade peel is hand-cut to give a superior flavour. All products are gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.