Pilgrim’s UK expects to produce over four million higher welfare pork products in the run up to Christmas to keep up with a surge in consumer demand.

Warnings of Christmas turkey shortages due to the country’s largest ever bird flu outbreak, as well as record food and drink price inflation, which reached 16.2% in October and has continued to rise[1], has left consumers looking for more affordable meat options to take centre stage at the dinner table this year.

Pilgrim’s UK anticipates an increase in demand for pork products this Christmas, including gammon, which is expected to see a 25% uplift in volume, and pork crackling joints – which both enjoyed strong growth over the Christmas period last year[2].

With current market conditions, UK households are being encouraged to pick up their other Christmas favourites to avoid disappointment, with staples such as pigs in blankets, fresh gammon joints and pork crackling joints top of the list.

Fresh pork has increased its share of the wider protein category over the past four weeks to 13.3%[3] in terms of volume compared to the last four weeks of December 2021 and is set to be even more popular this Christmas. While fresh turkey has faced an over 85% drop in volume share of the category during the same period[4].

Rachel Griffiths, Chief Commercial Officer at Pilgrim’s UK, said: “With Christmas turkey shortages and the rising cost-of-living front of mind, we know that consumers are looking to switch to more cost-effective pork products, such as gammon and pork crackling joints, for their Christmas dinner centrepieces.

“Not only is a gammon joint cheaper, costing around £8 per kilo, compared to a turkey at over £12 per kilo, but it’s also often slow cooked which uses far less energy, and therefore money, than conventional oven cooking. Gammon is incredibly versatile, is simple to prepare and cook and is absolutely delicious – making it an ideal choice for Christmas!

“We started production early to meet this anticipated demand as consumers seek to avoid shortages and get their hands on affordable alternatives in time for Christmas.

“Our dedicated teams have been working hard, producing over 1.6 million higher welfare, high quality gammon joints and more than 157,000 pork crackling joints to ensure our retail customers are well stocked for the festive period.”

[1] ONS, November 2022
[2] Kantar Total Market | Total PL & Branded | Fresh Flavours & Cures | Yr on Yr % Change | 26-Dec-21 | 4 w/e
[3] Kantar Wider Protein Category Volume % Share | Total Market | 4 w/e 30/10/2022
[4] Kantar Wider Protein Category Volume % Share | Total Market | 4 w/e 30/10/2022