Belfast Telegraph

Christmas dinner will set you back 8% less than 2018

Good Housekeeping’s comparison Christmas basket is based on price — it is not a taste test. Prices correct at time of going to press
Good Housekeeping’s comparison Christmas basket is based on price — it is not a taste test. Prices correct at time of going to press
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

Christmas dinner with all the trimmings will cost 8% less this year compared to 2018.

The price of the annual Yuletide feast has fallen from £24.90 to £22.85, according to Good Housekeeping's seasonal shopping data.

It means the cheapest set-piece meal for eight has dropped by £2.05 - or by 25p a head - from £3.11 last year to £2.86.

The magazine calculated the price by taking a basket of 11 festive staples - from turkey and Brussels sprouts to mince pies - and finding the cheapest across the UK.

Its survey spanned nine of the country's biggest food stores - although two of them, Morrisons and Aldi, do not have retail outlets here.

Carrots have been exposed as the item that has gone up most year-on-year, having risen by 5p, while Christmas cake has stayed the same price.

All other items, including stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, brandy butter and mince pies, are cheaper.

Good Housekeeping's shopping list comprised a whole turkey weighing at least 3.5kg, at least 880g each of potatoes (Maris Piper or Kind Edward), sprouts, carrots and parsnips, as well as 170g stuffing mix, a jar of cranberry sauce, a Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, eight mince pies and a jar of brandy butter.

Caroline Bloor, consumer affairs director at Good Housekeeping, said the supermarket landscape is tougher than ever before, with many supermarkets competing on price with budget grocers like Lidl.

"Although Iceland came in second, there was over a £9 drop on its basket from last year - which is huge," she said. "M&S also decreased its price by £2.58, the second biggest decrease.

"The gap between the cheapest and the most expensive retailer is the smallest it's been for five years." Ms Bloor said consumer loyalty "is no longer set in stone when it comes to shopping at one supermarket".

"In a time of harsh economic challenges, consumers want as much bang for their buck as possible, and the supermarkets know this, which is why keeping prices as low as possible to ensure maximum footfall is a priority for them," she added.

For Northern Ireland consumers intent on doing a one-stop shop, Iceland is the place to go, totalling £25.25 for the whole basket (£3.16 per head), followed by Lidl which comes to £26.22 (£3.28).

But shopping around at different supermarkets to achieve the lowest possible cost of a Christmas dinner works out at £2.86 per head, according to Good Housekeeping.

If consumers want to shop around for the best price, they can find the cheapest potatoes at Iceland (69p), carrots at M&S (40p), parsnips at M&S (80p), Brussels sprouts also at M&S (80p), and the lowest-priced stuffing at Lidl (32p).

The cheapest Christmas pudding is at Iceland (£3), and brandy butter also at Iceland (£1.39).

Good Housekeeping's comparison Christmas basket is based on price - it is not a taste test. Prices correct at time of going to press.

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