The supermarket chain’s personnel director Jo Walmsley said: “As the temperature begins to drop, customers are enjoying comforting food, with sales of Waitrose & Partners No.1 ready meals up 68%.
“October marks Vegetarian Awareness Month and customers are continuing to enjoy the Waitrose & Partners vegan and vegetarian range, as sales were up by 28%.
“Customers are also preparing to decorate their homes for Halloween, with sales of pumpkins up by 8% on last year.”
This week Waitrose is launching its largest ever pumpkin range. The retailer said: ‘As the trend for bigger Halloween celebrations started to emerge from across the pond a number of years ago, we’re now saying farewell to a solitary carved orange pumpkin and embracing crazy carving designs, even more pumpkin varieties, and adding ghoulish gourds into our seasonal Halloween displays.
‘This Halloween sees the introduction of some lumpy and bumpy Goosebump Pumpkins. They join Ghost [white] Pumpkins, a variety of nobbly, bobbly and gnarly Gourds, mini Munchkins and two sizes of carving pumpkins.’
Waitrose pumpkin expert Hannah Stewart commented: “The year’s fantastic growing season has definitely been in our favour with a warm summer, the right amount of rain and a dry September. The quality is excellent, and with our carving pumpkins bigger than they have been before, our customers will have an even larger canvas to get creative with their spooky doorstep designs.”
Culinary pumpkins, which arrived in branches this week, are also in demand with online searches for pumpkin recipes up. Searches on Waitrose.com for the term ‘pumpkin pie’ have increased by 48%, ‘pumpkin bread’ by 305% and ‘pumpkin soup’ by 20%, year-on-year.