Turkey, puddings and even dreaded Brussels sprouts cost more than this time last year
It’s food for thought this festive season. In these straitened times, you no longer think just about how it will look and taste, but how much it will cost.
This year, you can blame the turkey, Brussels sprouts and traditional puddings for driving up the cost of a Christmas dinner.
New data shows the cost of a Yuletide feed has gone the way of so many other things in this Covid-ridden, post-Brexit world and risen by 3% this year compared to last.
Analysts at the market research company Kantar found that the total cost of 10 key items for a family of four had climbed by 3.4%, with an average dinner now hitting £27.48, which is up around 89p from 2020.
It comes as the rising cost of some of the most expensive ingredients in the festive feast offsets a fall in the price of basic vegetables including potatoes, carrots and parsnips.
Industry figures revealed that overall grocery inflation rose to 3.2% in the four weeks to November 28, its highest level since June last year.
A 7% year-on-year hike in the price of frozen turkey, linked to processors battling with higher labour and feed costs, means the Christmas dinner favourite is now retailing at £12.46.
Up by 5% are puddings (now sitting at £2.48), sprouts (92p) and cauliflower (90p). You’ll also have to fork out 3% more (£1.39) for gravy granules.
There are nevertheless good tidings elsewhere, with the price of carrots slumping 13% (to 41p). Parsnips are down by 6% (46p) and potatoes will cost you 5% less (£1.10). Cranberry sauce, meanwhile, is 3% cheaper (90p) that it was last year.
Sparkling wine costs the same on average as 2020 (£6.47) despite fears of a rise in the price of alcohol.
Emer Healy, a retail analyst at Kantar, said the increase in the cost of a Christmas dinner closely mirrored the rise in grocery prices as a whole.
She added that consumers had yet to adapt their habits to deal with higher prices.
“Habits like swapping branded products for own-label alternatives or seeking out promotions don’t seem to have altered just yet,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.
“Consumers may want to treat themselves this year after the 2020 lockdown Christmas. They may be prepared to splurge now because they anticipate having to rein in their spending in the new year.
“We’ll only get a true understanding of what happened when we analyse the data in January.”
The inflation figure was driven by price rises in savoury snacks, crisps and cat food.
A separate report by Kantar, which analyses the grocery market, recently revealed local shoppers were spending less money on alcohol and food in supermarkets as they continue to enjoy the post-lockdown pleasures of dining out.
The three biggest supermarkets have all suffered a fall in local sales, although challenger Lidl bucked the trend with another surge in sales.
Kantar said supermarket spending in the 52 weeks to the end of November was down by 2.6% on the same period in 2020, a time of intermittent lockdowns that shut hospitality.
The change in behaviour had the starkest impact on retailers such as Centra, Mace and Spar.
Kantar said spending in the category was down 13.5% on 2020.