Red meat and cheese aiming for World Cup glory

England and Wales are just two teams hoping to claim football’s biggest crown, but red meat and dairy could also be a winter winner at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Thousands of Brits are expected to create their own ‘fan zones’ by hosting parties and other football-themed social gatherings when the 29-day football festivities kick off this weekend.

According to analysts at AHDB, the World Cup will see fans gathering to feast on stadium-style sharing meals – benefiting primary roasting joints, mince and stewing meat.

Cheese is also expected to see a boost with pizzas predicted to be a favourite, alongside traditional party food such as cocktail sausages and sausage rolls.

With the first match of the Qatar World Cup taking place on Sunday, analysts predict a sales boost could start this weekend. But they warn the cost-of-living crisis and preparations for Christmas may mean a more modest uplift than seen during previous tournaments.

AHDB Senior Retail Insight Manager Kim Heath said: “Usually when we head into a big event or celebration, we can look back at what has happened previously to predict consumer behaviour. However, a World Cup in November, when Brits are typically gearing up for Christmas is not something we have seen before.

“Historically, World Cups have taken place over the summer months, so you’d expect to see more barbecues and an increase in sales of burgers and grills. But this year, we would expect to see sales of meats similar to those enjoyed over Halloween and Bonfire Night.”

The latest data shows that during Halloween, pork and beef mince, beef and lamb stewing cuts and pork roasting joints all saw growth on last year – with shoppers 59 per cent more likely to buy beef stewing in the two weeks to Halloween than the average two weeks of the year (Kantar).

Also, there was growth in meat-based party foods with cocktail sausage sales up 16 per cent, pastries rising 14 per cent and sausage rolls up 8.5 per cent. Christmas came early for pigs in blankets too with sales rising 15 per cent (Kantar).

Kim added: “Although this World Cup doesn’t follow the normal rules, therefore it’s difficult to look at previous trends, we do know that this year, during November and December, after Covid ruined plans for many last year, consumers will want to celebrate and treat themselves, albeit with slightly tighter purse strings.

“Therefore, retailers need to strike a balance to support Yuletide celebrations and World Cup hype which focus on very different types of meals – and value for money will be key.”

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