Marks & Spencer and Iceland see frozen Christmas food sales jump by up to 500%

Some supermarkets have already seen a sharp uptick in turkey sales. Credit: Pexels

Marks and Spencer and Iceland have seen frozen Christmas food sales jump by up to 500% this year, compared to last, as Britons prepare for a winter of supply chain disruption.

Experts have been warning that festive favourites like turkeys, pigs in blankets and seasonal hams could be off the menu this December amid a shortage of butchers, agricultural workers and HGV drivers.

After last minute Covid-19 restrictions scuppered festive plans for thousands last year, it appears many families are preparing well in advance to make sure they are stocked up for Christmas Day.

Some supermarkets have already reported a sharp uptick in festive food staples, with M&S having sold 25,000 turkeys by the start of October.

Frozen Christmas food sales have also gone up by 500% in total on last year, with the supermarket putting the demand down to "shoppers buying early".

A spokesperson told ITV News that "as it stands" they do not expect there to be shortages of products as they have "strong, long-standing relationships with suppliers". 

Meanwhile, Iceland has also seen frozen turkey sales jump by 409% year-on-year and is preparing for a "much busier season than usual".

The supermarket said the word ‘Christmas’ reached over 17,000 searches across Iceland’s website in the past week alone, while it noticed a spike in searches for ‘mince pies’ as early as July. 

The supermarket was, however, quick to reassure shoppers that they do not expect shortages in the run up to the festive period as they have increased orders.

As a result of the sales uptick, it has upped its bird orders by 20%, while its full range of turkey and joints will be launched two weeks earlier than normal to cope with demand.

Andrew Staniland, Trading Director at Iceland Foods, said: “We can confidently tell the nation not to worry and to continue shopping frozen.

"Since Christmas was pretty much cancelled in 2020, we have been preparing for much bigger celebrations this time round. We have more of everything, ready for shoppers much earlier".

Ken Murphy, chief executive of Tesco, said that about 60% of the turkeys it sells each year are frozen but that this is likely to be higher this year.

“We currently have a 10% increase of turkeys and there is noticeably an elevated demand for frozen turkeys,” he said.

“We have a resilient supply chain and really good availability levels.”