Massive Christmas party food market battle begins this weekend

10 Dec 2011

As the battle for TV ratings between Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor nears its peak a major fight to win a slice of the estimated £100m-plus high street party food market will also commence this weekend.

As the battle for TV ratings between Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor nears its peak a major fight to win a slice of the estimated £100m-plus high street party food market will also commence this weekend.

Over the last few years sales of party food have rocketed in the second week of December, as people hold X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing parties.

This year is not expected to be an exception as viewers decide whether Marcus Collins, Little Mix or comeback queen Amelia have the X Factor and which two of the Strictly couples will make it through to the finals.

And ‘party food week’ as the phenomenon is known in the retail business, is further accelerated through booming sales created by the start of the Christmas party season. So great is the demand that up to 75 per cent of the estimated annual £150m UK party food market can come in the run up to Christmas.

Supermarkets place a huge emphasis on party food at Christmas knowing that a strong offering helps generate other festive food sales.

Tesco party food buyer Fabia Terranova said: “Party food over the last few years has evolved into the UK’s fastest growing new area of the retail food market with sales peaking at Christmas. Not only is party food easy and quick to prepare but it’s also inexpensive and everyone loves it.

“And with the growing trend for X Factor and Strictly viewing parties we have seen demand on the rise. In fact it has doubled in the last couple of years which is why we have extended our range and given a strong price offering this year.”

Tesco launched its first party food range in 2004 with 10 items such as potato wedges and prawns in filo pastry. It now has 50 products from different cuisines including oriental, Indian, and Tex-Mex. Recent new lines include chicken fajitas, Thai red curry prawns, pork belly squares, chicken and laksa samosas.

However the trend is still in its relative infancy and Tesco food developers are already working on bringing out more lines for next year.

Fabia Terranova added: “The concept of party food has come a long way since the 70s when all you could expect was damp sausage rolls, limp cocktail sausages and cheese and pineapple on a stick.

“Now it’s become the UK’s fastest growing food trend, especially amongst young people and its popularity is down to the great range on offer, it being easy to prepare and above all delicious.”

- Ends -

Note to editors:

- - Tesco’s top 5 party food sellers are:

1.         Cheese and bacon potato skins
2.         Garlic mushrooms
3.         Duck spring rolls
4.         BBQ chicken wings
5.         Mozzarella sticks

- - Tesco is planning to sell 7 million packs of potato skins this Christmas which equates to approximately 350 tons, more than the weight of two adult blue whales.

- - By the end of December Tesco will have sold 175 tons of filo pastry based party foods which if laid out in a row would cover the length of four football fields.