UK meat and dairy sector shows continued growth in January 2021

Data from UK retailers for January 2021 shows increases in overall sales of red meat and dairy compared to the same period last year.
calendar icon 5 March 2021
clock icon 2 minute read


Retail figures show strong growth in meat and dairy sales this January, following a winning Christmas for red meat.

Latest Kantar data shows overall volume sales of red meat were up 15% and almost 12% for dairy, compared with last January.

Red meat and dairy retail sales have seen solid growth since COVID-19 restrictions began last March, with shoppers buying more through retail than pre-pandemic.

Over the last quarter, growth across all red meat and dairy has been stronger than overall grocery growth at 10%.

Primary red meat volume has seen an 18% increase, with mince driving much of the growth within beef, along with burgers and steaks, but shoppers have also brought traditional roasting joints back to the table.

The seasonal lockdown has also led to more shoppers buying primary red meat, with increased household penetration at 83%.

Dairy has also seen significant growth, with fresh cream leading the way with a 21% uplift in volume sales in the last quarter. However it’s the humble staple of milk that has driven over 70% of the growth in dairy, with shoppers buying five litres more this quarter than pre-COVID.

Exploration of different cheeses appears to be one trend coming out of the national lockdown, with growth across British regional, speciality and continental varieties.

Strong growth has also been seen across meat-free and dairy alternatives, although figures show that most shoppers who buy alternatives continue to buy real meat and dairy.

Rebecca Miah, AHDB’s Strategy Director for beef and lamb, said: “These numbers are a really excellent start to the New Year and reflect how highly valued red meat and dairy are to consumers. While alternatives show growth from a small base, these are mostly complimentary additional purchases driven by interest and variety, rather than a move away from real meat and dairy consumption.

“This supports the main message of AHDB’s ‘Eat Balanced’ campaign, launched in January, which encourages a diverse and inclusive diet of all food groups.”

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