Red meat is far from spooky at Halloween

Thursday, 12 December 2019

The run-up to Halloween and Bonfire Night offers an opportunity for retailers and suppliers to create seasonal excitement for a number of categories. Almost half of the UK celebrated Halloween this year (Nov 19), according to Kantar. Traditional activities like preparing for trick or treaters and pumpkin carving are the top ways in which people celebrate. However, one in five 18–24-year-olds planned to host or attend a Halloween-themed party for adults, highlighting that retail opportunities for the occasion go beyond the typical categories of sweets and pumpkins (IGD ShopperVista, Halloween 2019, October 2019).

Halloween is an important time of year for the red meat category, which shows strong seasonal gains. But slowing performance in 2019 highlights the need for industry support to exploit opportunities to maintain the category’s strength in future.

Red meat – Halloween 2019

In the run-up to Halloween 2019, red meat volumes saw a seasonal uplift of +4.5% compared with a typical two weeks of the year* (2 w/e 03 Nov 19), according to Kantar, placing Halloween as the third biggest event in the calendar for red meat, behind Christmas and Easter.

Driving the incremental sales are primary cuts, which can be used in protein-based winter warmers, such as chilli and one pots, with the biggest seasonal uplift seen for mince (+7.3%). Also seeing strong seasonal gains are sausages at +6.8%, as hot dogs are a quick and easy handheld option at parties.

Despite a strong seasonal uplift, year-on-year performance shows a slowing for red meat. Volume declines of -3.9% highlight the category needs to remain relevant and at the top of shoppers’ minds during this celebration.

The year-on-year losses have been driven predominantly by two factors:

  1. Sausages saw a reduction in volume of 400,000 kg purchased this Halloween compared with the same time period last year. 76% of this decline was a result of less promotional support in store. Learning from retailers this year highlights that Y for £X deals work well, particularly for trading people up to premium ranges.
  2. Roasting joints saw a reduction in volume of 800,000 kg purchased this Halloween, driven by all red meats. Again, tactical support appears to be an opportunity here as promotional levels for red meat in the run-up to Halloween were significantly lower than rest of year. An example is the beef roasting category, where 24% is sold on deal across the year but only 7% at Halloween (Kantar, 2 w/e 3 Nov 19 versus 52 w/e 3 Nov 19).

Retail opportunities

There are a number of ways in which manufacturers and retailers can position meat as part of Halloween celebrations.

  • In-store support – Bringing the event to life through activation and displays is vital. Navigational signage, dedicated party aisles or solution-led locations outside of category aisles will encourage browsing and increase traffic. Inspire shoppers to make impulse purchases – 43% of shoppers who were celebrating Halloween this year claim they often buy products they had not planned to buy around this time of year (IGD ShopperVista, Halloween 2019, October 2019).
  • Dish inspiration – A third of shoppers who planned to celebrate Halloween agree they would be interested in Halloween-inspired recipes (IGD ShopperVista, Halloween 2019, October 2019). Focusing on family favourite meat-based dishes for sit-down meals, as well as crowd pleasers, will encourage protein purchases at this time of year.
  • Product innovation – New product development and seasonal twists can help bring people in to categories not typically associated with the event. Dairylea launched its Halloween-themed ‘scarylea’ cheese and Morrisons sold ‘Trick or Treat roulette’-style pizzas, ideal for those hosting parties.

Halloween innovation for Dairylea triangles

Halloween innovation at Morrisons through ‘Trick or Treat roulette’-style pizzas

Source: IGD Retail Analysis

  • Value support – Halloween-focused special offers help trigger impulse purchases and provide an opportunity to push the red meat category further.

*Typical 2 weeks = average based on 52 w/e 03 Nov 19 excl. Xmas