European Christmas 2023 Food Consumption: Trends to Monitor

December 1, 2023

4 mins read


European Christmas 2023 Food Consumption: Trends to Monitor 

As the festive season approaches, many are turning their attention to the Christmas dinner table, and the trends in the consumption of staple holiday foods. Global commodity price data & market intelligence service Mintec tracks the prices and trends of all your traditional Christmas food items.  

In episode 2 of Mintec’s "Agri-Food for Thought" podcast series (soon to be released), European editor-in-chief Simon Duke flagged that consumers this Christmas will likely take a cautious approach to spending on food items due to the wave of rising prices.  

The festive season is typically a time of year that involves more expenses than usual, as consumers feel the urge to celebrate with friends and family. However, there is concern in Europe that a significant share of consumers may cut back on food spending due to inflation.  

Quote The 2023 festive season will be a challenging period for retailers who are hoping that the festive feeling takes over shoppers and they spend more than expected or take a closer look at good-value deals or lower-priced Christmas special food items, simply because it’s that time of the year,” Duke said.  

Here's a glimpse into what to expect for the December 2023 – January 2024 period for various food items (not including meat and dairy): 

Salmon - A Tight Race Between Norway and Chile 

Quote Typically, Norwegian salmon prices rise from October to January due to increased demand from both Eastern and Western Hemispheres during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year. However, this year sees a trend for smaller-sized fish, a result of Norwegian farmers destocking ponds due to poor profitability. High feed prices are also affecting farmer margins,” said Ibi Idoniboye, Senior Seafood Analyst, Mintec.  

According to Idoniboye, Norwegian and Chilean salmon are in a heated competition for market dominance. Chile, eyeing Norway's European market, benefits from economies of scale and is selling higher volumes to Russia and China, intensifying the competition between the two major producers. 

Shrimp - A Supporting Role 

Quote While shrimp may not be the star of the Christmas dinner, it often plays a supporting role in higher-end seafood meals,” said Fabienne O'Donoghue, Market Analyst, Urner Barry Europe.  

The larger size shrimp is occasionally consumed as a delicacy, but the majority of imports into Europe consist of medium to small sizes. 2023 will see record-low import prices in Europe due to an imbalance between supply and demand, driven by shrinking consumer wallets. 

Eggs – Home Cooking Boosts Demand 

Eggs experience a surge in demand in Europe during the Christmas period, historically one of the high seasons for the sector in Europe. According to O’Donoghue, retail demand for table eggs rises as home cooking and baking increase, with eggs as a main ingredient.  

Quote Specialties like panettone in Italy and the Epiphany 'galette des rois' in France drive egg processors to provide more liquid and dried eggs to bakeries and food manufacturers,” she said. 

Nuts & Dried Fruits - Healthy Snacks at Christmas 

Consumption of nuts and dried fruits peaks in Western markets ahead of Christmas, with many consumers snacking on them during the festive season. These items are also commonly used in Christmas desserts. However, this year, “demand from manufacturers is affected by economic uncertainty and a lack of confidence among buyers,” said Jara Zicha, Senior Nuts, Dried Fruit & Spices Analyst, Mintec. 

Potatoes - Challenges for the UK Market 

Finally, UK consumers are facing the prospect of fewer potatoes for the festive season. The UK potato industry is facing supply shortages due to wet weather during planting and harvest, causing delays and rot.  

Quote This shortage may impact the Christmas dinner table, as demand increases during December. Supply shortages are expected to support prices, already influenced by lower supply, until mid-January 2024,” said Harry Campbell, Fruit & Vegetable Analyst, Mintec. 


Mintec Team
Mintec Team

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