Does UK search data show us heading for a Christmas dinner shortage?

11 Nov 2020


Megan Boyle

Megan Boyle

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For many of us, Christmas is the most important meal of the year. It’s a day we look forward to for the other 364 days, where we can eat chocolate for breakfast and where calories don’t count. 

But are we destined to face a lean Christmas Day in 2020? 

Here at TAL Agency, our SEO team did a deep dive into Google searches to find Christmas dinner-related queries from September 2019 to September 2020 to see if demand had changed in the last 12 months. 

And oh boy, has demand changed. 

We found that the numbers of searches for table classics such as ‘Christmas turkey’, ‘roast potatoes’ and ‘parsnips’ absolutely skyrocketed compared to last year.

The number of people searching for the main event – Christmas turkey – was found to have increased by a whopping 57% from 9,220 in Sept 2019 to 14,480 in Sept 2020.

Does this mean people are starting their Christmas dinner shopping early? If there’s an increase like that in September, imagine what it’ll be like now, in November.

There was also an increase of more than a third (36%) of people searching for parsnips, and a 31% rise in the number of people looking for mulled wine. 

More people were also looking for the trimmings that make a Christmas dinner so special. There was an increase of more than a third (36%) of people searching for parsnips, a 30% increase in people looking for roast potatoes, and a 28% rise in the number of people looking for brussel sprouts. 

Yes, even brussel sprouts.

Need a little finishing touch? You better get your skates on.

We found there was a 29% increase in people searching for cranberry sauce, a 19% rise in searches for brandy sauce, and a 21% rise in people looking for gravy. 

People are also thinking about the dessert early.

How to beat the festive food frenzy

Panicking a little? You’re not alone. Here’s how to get started.

1. Start now!

Yes! Get a jump on things right now. Start by making a list – perhaps planning for six people being allowed to gather at your house – of everything that you’ll need. That’s a turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes, vegetables and any sides and desserts that you want, too.

2. Don’t forget local

When it comes to doing a big shop like this one, our minds probably jump to the big name supermarkets out there. But if you’re thinking about shopping there, then chances are that everyone else is too. 

Don’t forget your local independent shops like butchers and greengrocers who may be having a difficult time this year. These stores will probably be taking orders for collection closer to Christmas, so you don’t have to worry about food spoiling or going off. 

Paul Gobin, of Gobin’s family butchers based in Chorley Market, has emphasised how important it is to shop local this year. As the demand for turkey’s is evidently increasing in supermarkets, he said, “We’re now taking orders for the Christmas period and haven’t seen a dramatic increase like the supermarkets. But in the mad rush to stock up and get everything you need, the big chains are often where people’s minds go first. But local independents are still there and often a better option. Because we’re in charge of our produce from start to finish, people that shop locally are more likely to have a Christmas turkey and one of much better quality too.”

3. Think of other options

While everyone probably envisions chopping fresh organic carrots and parsnips on the big day, don’t forget that there are other ways of storing and preparing your veg. Instead of buying your vegetables fresh a couple of days before the 25th – when the stores are bound to be rammed – why not buy what you can freeze instead? 

Chopped carrots and broccoli can both be bought in frozen bags which makes for easy access when you need them!

While we may all be in for a Christmas a lot different than what we’re used to, with some planning and preparation, it can still make for some amazing memories. Just with five of our closest loved ones. 

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