Frozen turkeys in high demand as Christmas shopping starts early | Supermarkets

It is not even Halloween yet, but shoppers have already started their Christmas shopping in earnest with Aldi reporting runaway demand for frozen turkeys.

The discounter revealed it is selling 1,500 turkey crowns a day – four times the usual rate for this time of year – with Christmas pudding sales also up 45%.

Other retailers have also reported a jump in demand for other essentials including artificial trees and fairy lights.

At Waitrose, 112,000 people have already booked their Christmas delivery slot, about double the figure at this time in 2020.

After last year’s cancelled festivities, shoppers appear to have heeded the prime minister’s warning that the strain on the supply chain amid labour shortages could last several months. Having filled their petrol tanks, they are now turning their attention to filling their freezers and cupboards.

The urge to stockpile comes hot on the heels of the fuel crisis and follows warnings from poultry producers that there may not be enough turkeys to go around and that the supply of pigs in blankets could also be in jeopardy.

The stampede for festive goodies comes despite Giles Hurley, Aldi’s UK and Ireland chief executive, recently stating that he did not expect any disruption to stocks in the run-up to Christmas with the no-frills chain prepared to give shoppers a “bumper Christmas”.

“Supply is clearly a concern for the industry given the current challenges, but our teams have been planning this Christmas since the start of the year and we’re not concerned at present about supply issues,” said Hurley.

Aldi believes shoppers will want to splurge at Christmas and will spend a bit more on its luxury ranges. To this end, it has ordered 250,000 of its “chocolate orange bombes” which are likened to a mousse form of Christmas stocking favourite, the Terry’s chocolate orange.

While the major supermarkets are struggling to keep their shelves full and are streamlining ranges, the discount chains Aldi and Lidl have benefited from selling a much smaller number of products but in huge volumes. “Our refined range makes it easier to manage relationships with our supply base and resolve any issues,” Hurley said.

Other retailers have also reported that shoppers have bypassed Halloween and Bonfire Night – perhaps because fireworks are also in short supply – with Iceland and Marks & Spencer reporting a jump in demand for their Christmas ranges.