At the same time, the rush to get hold of presents and coveted supermarket delivery slots is well and truly underway. So fierce was the competition for deliveries at Tesco recently that its website crashed after a near-300,000 strong queue formed.
Part of the rush this year has been as a result of warnings that the customary Christmas turkey could be off the menu as a result of the bird flu crisis currently engulfing the eggs and poultry sector.
But many people will also be seeking certainty after a year in which the cost of living crisis has ravaged household budgets. The latest inflation figures show prices in October were 11.1% higher on average compared to last year, while the ONS also showed wages had gone down in real-terms.
Fully mindful of this situation, supermarkets have begun to announce their Christmas dinner offers. But which retailer is offering the cheapest deal at the moment? Here’s what you need to know.
Will Christmas dinner be more expensive in 2022?
The likelihood is that Christmas dinner will be more expensive this year compared to previous years.
Food prices have been behind much of the inflationary growth the UK has seen in 2022. The impacts of the war in Ukraine and energy crisis have both served to increase costs throughout the food supply chain, with retailers forced to hike shelf prices as a result.
With the value of the pound weakening against the other major global currencies throughout the year, particularly since Liz Truss’s short stint as Prime Minister, it has also become more expensive to import food - a major issue for the UK given it is a net importer of what it eats. The full effects of the devaluation of pound sterling are likely to still be passing through the supply chain.
While the situation has been felt across the food and drink market, the most concerning impact has been felt in supermarket value ranges. Up until September, NationalWorld has recorded above-inflation rises for the cheapest products available across the major UK grocers (with Asda struggling to keep its Just Essentials range in stock in soem areas).
When looking at the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) consumer price index (CPI), we can see that all the major categories of products you would expect to find in a Christmas dinner have risen significantly. Here is the annual rate of inflation for each key category:
- Poultry (turkey): 19.7%
- Other meats (pigs in blankets): 19.8%
- Vegetables (Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips - includes potatoes): 15.1%
- Sauces and condiments (cranberry sauce, gravy and bread sauce): 33.2%
- Other bakery products (Christmas pudding): 17.7%
Which supermarkets are offering cheapest Christmas dinner?
According to supermarket trade magazine The Grocer, the race to offer the cheapest Christmas dinner is hotting up. It reported that retailers want to convince shoppers they offer the best headline deal because they see it as a good way of getting shoppers into their stores to buy other items.
Tesco was the first to break cover with an offer that appears prominently in its Christmas advert. Its frozen, own-brand Christmas dinner meal deal offers everything you need to feed five people for £24.05.
This offer includes a 1.5kg turkey crown, 800g of roast potatoes and trimmings (including pigs in blankets, Yorkshire puddings and 1kg each of peas, carrots and Brussels sprouts).
Asda has now entered the fray with a £22 offer for all of the items offered by Tesco - albeit with a bigger turkey (a 2.6kg whole turkey - 73% bigger than Tesco’s offering). However, its packs of pigs in blankets (12 vs 20) and Yorkshire puddings (12 vs 15) are smaller than Tesco’s.
Meanwhile, online retailer Ocado’s more premium deal weighs in at £30. However, it does not contain sprouts or carrots, with its options including stuffing balls and cauliflower cheese instead.
The Ocado deal also has an unconventional stuffed turkey breast joint wrapped in bacon, and offers products that are not own-brand as part of its deal.