A very cold start to last week (to January 24) had customers stocking up on hearty meals and warming drinks at Waitrose. Provisional sales at the grocery chain were up 2.7% (excluding petrol) compared with last year.
Waitrose personnel director Helen Hyde said: “The colder spell, that has seen snow fall in some areas, had an influence on what customers were buying. Soup was up by nearly 50% compared to last year. Hearty pies were also in demand; without any promotion, sales of our Steak, Mushroom and Red Wine Pie jumped 75%.
“Mugs and cups were being kept topped up too: sales of tea were up 20%, while loose-leaf teas were brimming, rising 31%. Interestingly for this time of year, healthier alternatives such as green tea and low-calorie hot chocolates saw impressive demand, up 40% and 21% respectively.”
She added that the trend to make your own preserves is seeing growth with sales of Seville oranges – now in season and used for making marmalade (and chutney) – up 20%, “proving that more people than ever are picking up their jam pans and thermometers to create their own marmalade”. Searches for marmalade recipes online have also increased, with Waitrose reporting a 282% increase in downloads of their Quick and Easy Seville Marmalade recipe.