Festive price war means cost of Christmas dinner is down - but only if you like sprouts

Some items on the festive plate are actually falling in price  (PA Archive)
Some items on the festive plate are actually falling in price (PA Archive)

A festive price war between the supermarkets means that the cost of some items on a Christmas dinner plate has fallen, according to latest figures.

While the total cost of a traditional Christmas dinner for four is up by 1.3 per cent on last year to £31.71, the rise is well below overall grocery price inflation.

And in more good news for hard-pressed consumers, the price war is seeing some items on the festive plate actually falling in price, such as Brussels sprouts which are now 4.3 per cent cheaper than 12 months ago, analysts Kantar said.

Christmas pudding is 2.4 per cent cheaper than last December, while sparkling wine costs 5.9 per cent less on average. Overall, grocery inflation slowed again in November to 9.1 per cent, down from October’s 9.7 per cent.

Take-home supermarket sales are expected to surpass £13 billion for the first time ever this December, with Friday December 22 set to be the busiest day for festive grocery shopping. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “The scene is set for record-breaking spend through the supermarket tills this Christmas.

“The festive period is always a bumper one for the grocers, with consumers buying on average 10 per cent more items than in a typical month.”

Customer spending on offers hit its highest level in more than two years over the latest period at 28.4 per cent.

Mr McKevitt added: “We’re well above 2022 levels, with customers making an additional £180 million in savings this November versus 12 months ago.”

It came as separate figures revealed consumers appear to be sticking to plans for a budget Christmas this year with retail spending remaining weak despite Black Friday. Total UK retail sales increased by just 2.7 per cent in November, a significant weakening on last November’s 4.2 per cent uplift, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Food and drink, health, personal care and beauty products continued to drive growth, while jewellery and watches saw the biggest decline in sales on the high street, suggesting consumers are abandoning expensive presents in favour of more budget-friendly gifting.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers are banking on a last-minute flurry of festive frivolity in December and will continue working hard to deliver an affordable Christmas for customers so everyone can enjoy some Christmas cheer.”