Press Centre

Wet weather sees shoppers turning to winter foods

IT’S likely to the wettest August on record – and it’s seen shoppers turning in their thousands to traditional winter warmers.

Comfort food is firmly at top of people’s shopping lists as they abandon the usual seasonal summer fare in favour of food normally associated with the colder months.

And – while weather experts predict we may be heading into a slightly warmer Bank Holiday – shoppers are showing little signs of lighting up the barbecue. Instead it’s warming pies and soups that are on the menu.

The early switch to winter comfort eating has resulted in ASDA notching up record-breaking sales of mince. It’s the prime ingredient for hearty dishes such as shepherds pie and stews and over one million packs of mince – the equivalent of 465 tonnes – were sold in the last week. Customers facing the credit crunch are also helping push up mince sales, as they look to ASDA’s value prices to make their family meals.

Gravy sales have risen by 50% as summer salads give way to roast dinners, while soup sales – which are extremely susceptible to weather and usually peak in December and January – are up by a quarter.

Main meals are being followed by comforting desserts, with custard sales up 70% and rice pudding 52%. Ice pops sales, which should be going strong at this time of year, are down 32%.

The lack of good days for having a barbecue are also evident in shopping habits. Sales of barbecue meat ranges have dropped 40%, while salad items are showing a 10% decline.

ASDA’s Allison Darling said: “We’re seeing shopping patterns that usually don’t happen until the cooler autumn and winter months set in. The continual rainfall and below average temperatures have helped push up sales of popular winter favourites, many of which – such as gravy – have been part of ASDA’s great value price promotions to assist customers during the credit crunch.

“By the same token, things like salad and barbecue items are not selling as well. Customers really need the sun to be shining to buy such items and, in the case of salad particularly, they want to see a few good days before they have the confidence to buy it.“

However, the predictions are it may be more settled and slightly warmer over the Bank Holiday, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed and keeping stocked up on summer ranges. There may be hope left yet for a final barbecue!”

Posted in Press Centre on 22 August 2008