According to data from Kantar, while the overall volume of lam sales was 3% down in 2021 compared with 2020 at 63,350 tonnes, sales were still higher than pre-pandemic levels – sales in 2021 were up 2.4% compared to 2019.
Leg roasting joints proved to be the most popular cut among consumers this Christmas, with the volume up 1.2% from 2020 and 6% higher the 2019.
In total, British consumers spent £662.5m on lamb in 2021, 1.5% more than the previous year and a whopping 12.6% more than 2019.
Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) data analyst Glesni Phillips said: “The popularity of lamb among British shoppers is substantially higher now than it was two years ago before the Covid pandemic. Although sales are slightly below the 2020 peak in terms of volume, spending on lamb has continued to grow across most types of cuts and products.”
“Given the tight supply and high farmgate prices during much of 2021 it’s not surprising that there has been some upward movement in the retail price in the short term, and this may be part of the reason for the increased popularity of more economic products such as mince, where sales are up more than 20% as against 2019.”
Strong lamb sales at the end of the year were part of a robust Christmas period for the grocery sector, despite price inflation becoming more acute, according to HCC
Groceries as a whole were 3.5% more expensive overall in December 2021 compared to the previous festive period, while the average price of lamb was up 4.6% year-on-year.
“Overall, clearly retail consumers have come back to lamb over the past two years, with over 50% of the British population buying lamb at some point over that period,” Philips added.
“Welsh sheep farmers will be hoping for continued strong support from the domestic retail consumer heading into the New Year, and HCC has a number of promotions ongoing with retailers both large and small to follow up on the successful Christmas marketing.”
Meanwhile, discount retailer Aldi has invested an extra £1.6bn with British suppliers since the start of the COIVD-19 pandemic as part of its commitment to locally grown produce.