Waitrose’s total divisional sales were down by 0.6% last week (to June 25) excluding fuel.
The supermarket chain’s commercial director Mark Williamson said comparisons were impacted by last year’s warmer weather and a period of high profile marketing activity during the equivalent week in 2015 to coincide with the launch of Pick Your Own Offers.
But, he added, the European Football Championships and England completing a 3-0 series win in the rugby against Australia gave cause for celebration among sports fans, with beer sales increasing by almost 9%.
Meanwhile, the retailer’s new range of Omega 3 enriched chicken is “already seeing very strong sales”. Launched on June 14, the range now represents almost 6% of total poultry sales, Mark said.
Waitrose claims to have introduced the UK’s first chicken that is a source of omega 3 , hailing it as ‘a ground-breaking move for a British supermarket’. Omegas 3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids which, as a key part of a balanced diet, help to maintain normal heart, brain and vision function.
The product has been brought to market in partnership with Waitrose’s chicken supplier Moy Park and animal nutrition specialist Devenish Nutrition. The project, which has taken a decade to bring to market, came about as a result of concerns within the medical community that consumers were not including enough sources of omega 3 in their diets. To help improve intake, the idea was conceived of developing a more popular protein containing a source of omega 3. Chicken is Waitrose’s top selling protein.
Waitrose nutritionist Dr Joanne Lunn said: “This chicken will make a really useful contribution to our customers’ omega 3 intakes as we know it can be hard to consume enough omega 3 from other sources, especially if you are not a fan of fish.”
The grocery multiple said initial trials demonstrated that people eating enriched chicken for just five weeks had increased levels of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and saw measurable effects on their cardiovascular health.
Initial testing was carried out on 30 healthy participants whose omega 3 levels were measured after one, three and five weeks of eating three servings per week of omega 3 enriched chicken meat. On average participants saw their levels of omega 3s increase by 12%.
A total of 10 different new products, including whole chickens, breast fillets and thigh meat went on sale from June 15, priced from £3.59 per kilo.
Waitrose Omega 3 Chicken