Henry Horkan, Bord Bia London
The performance of bacon and sausages in the British retail market continues to shine in both value and volume terms according to TNS data. The category has benefited from current recessionary trends as the volume of other proteins, specifically lamb, beef and fresh pork remain under pressure.
The bacon market is worth £1.2bn, up 9% on last year with volumes almost 3% higher while the sausage market is 10% higher at £637m, which represents a growth of just 1% in volumes for the year ended September 2009.
At the same time, lamb volumes fell by 6%, beef by 3.6% while pork volumes fell by a more modest 1.3%. In the four weeks to 4th October, the resilience of pigmeat has been maintained as purchases of fresh pork increased by 5% while bacon and sausages grew by 8% and 2%.
Its relative affordability is certainly one of the key factors driving the success of processed pigmeat and the category has been the focus of heavy promotional activity. A stabilisation in farmgate input prices has dampened the inflationary price pressures applying to other red meats. Household penetration has increased, twice as many consumers purchase bacon compared to chicken breasts.
Although own-label brands dominate the bacon and sausage categories, branded sales are registering impressive growth. Branded bacon sales increased 33.4% relative to a 3.1% increase in own-label products over the last year.
Sausages, a strong focus of NPD in recent years with a proliferation of niche to mainstream brands have made much of their quality credentials over their own-label counterparts and grew 13.4% compared to 7.9% for own-label. This impressive performance indicates little fatigue with a sector where 30% of lines on shelf are new and 14% of spend accounted for by products launched within the past twelve months.