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£165m sustainable Christmas meal shopping boost for businesses

Baked turkey. Christmas dinner. The Christmas table is served with a turkey, decorated with bright tinsel and candles. Fried chicken, table. Family dinner. Top view, hands in the frame

Research from Barclays has found Brits are willing to spend more on their Christmas meals this year if they know the ingredients have been sustainably sourced.

Barclays proprietary data has found spend at independent food & drink businesses has rocketed by 58% when comparing 2021 figures with 2019. On average, spending in November has grown by 24% year-on-year since 2019.

Christmas is a critical trading month for independent food & drink business, and those outlets who source their groceries sustainably could benefit from a £165m boom.

Most Brits (62%) said that they have noticed an independent food & drinks shop or market stall opening near to where they live over the past two years.

When asked which new food outlets they’d seen opening over the past two years on their high streets, the most common were market stalls (41%), independent bakers (36%), independent butchers (34%), local farm shops (34%) and independent grocers (33%). Three in ten people (29%) said they will buy produce at these businesses this Christmas as they think it will reduce their carbon footprint, while 27% are drawn to their premises as it means they don’t have to drive anywhere.

Over two-fifths of Brits (46%) said they have become more climate-conscious this festive season due to the media attention on protecting the planet this year. This has had an impact on festive shopping routines, with over a third (35%) of Brits saying they have checked the sustainability credentials of the shops they’re ordering from, and three in ten (30%) going out of their way to buy food that is organic or sustainably sourced.

The sustainable Christmas meal boost to UK businesses

UK region Average additional spend on a sustainable Christmas meal The regional Christmas meal windfall 
London £5.10 £31,678,493
South East £3.20 £20,299,610
North West £3.10 £16,141,891
South West £3.60 £15,605,325
East of England £3.10 £14,339,243
Scotland £3.00 £12,766,552
West Midlands £2.80 £12,137,475
Yorkshire & Humberside £2.90 £11,881,087
East Midlands £3.00 £10,546,282
North East £3.70 £7,334,820
Wales £2.40 £5,518,957
Northern Ireland £3.70 £4,987,678

Adam White, Head of Agriculture at Barclays, said: “Today’s research has found that consumers across the country are making more sustainable shopping choices as they prepare for the festive season. This interest will have a positive impact on the many small businesses and markets who are sourcing their produce from local farms.

“Barclays supports businesses in the supply chain from farm to fork, and our agriculture team works with farmers investing capital to become more sustainable. This season we’d encourage consumers to buy British, as understanding food’s provenance will help to establish a greener food system. We also recently found that 83% of UK farmers believe they could be carbon neutral by 2035, five years ahead of the National Farmers Union 2040 goal.”