Rising inflation and the ever increasing cost of living crisis is impacting people's ability to celebrate, with sales of roasting joints over the Easter period down a massive 19% on the year.

With rising prices in stores and consumers having less disposable income, consumer research agency, Two Ears One Mouth, said the increasing cost of living was forefront during the period, being a concern of 84% during April 2022, compared to just 37% of consumers concerned about catching Covid. As a result sales of Easter eggs, lamb joints and even hot cross buns all fell on the year.

According to figures from Kantar Worldpanel, sales of roasting joints sold through retail totalled 9m kg for the two weeks to Easter 2022 – down a colossal 19.2% on the year and despite the fact consumers were able to socialise indoors this year.

The figures are also down 18.2% on 2019 when a warm Easter saw roasting take a back seat in favour of barbecues.

The decline was spread across all the main proteins, with almost all seeing the exact same trend. Beef roasting joints fell 22%; pork by 21%; lamb by 17% and chicken by 16% in the two weeks to Easter. The losses were most evident among older consumers.

Price inflation was seen across all roasting offerings, and having a negative impact on the number of shoppers who bought into the category. Lamb the most traditional Easter roast (21% share of roast volumes in 2022 compared to 6% share for rest of year) saw the biggest increase in price and the fastest volume losses.

In comparison pork roasting saw the smallest increase in price and the slowest volume losses, highlighting the real reality of shoppers spending ability. Some 57% of lamb losses were from shoppers leaving the roasting category completely and 12% through shoppers switching to other, cheaper, protein options – most notably chicken.

Lamb has the highest price point of any meat roasting in the market, at £10.31/kg, roughly £4 more than the market average. Lamb also sees an inflation rate of +11.5% year on year compared to the average of +9.7%.

Despite being slightly better barbecuing weather in 2022, compared to 2021 burger and sausage volumes were also down by 9.5%.

According to the report, consumers are returning to the eating out market, therefore fewer everyday meals are eaten at home, of which burgers and sausages are some of the most popular.

Meat-free product sales saw a decline too year-on-year, down -1.8% versus 2021, reversing the trend of significant volume growth at Easter across the last three years.

According to Kantar, health is now back to the fore as as a key motivator for eating habits, and back to Feb 2020 levels with 28.3% food occasions selected this way.

However, the vast majority of UK consumers are not looking to make any radical changes to their diet.

Nevertheless, whilst numbers following more restrictive diets such as vegan and vegetarian are stable, over time there are a growing number of people trying to limit their meat consumption.

This leads to more consumers becoming lighter consumers of meat which has the potential to erode volumes over time. The biggest wins, therefore, is in reassuring this audience of the health, sustainability and welfare credentials of red meat and dairy and the role they can play in a truly balanced diet.