Why Christmas Dinner Could Cost You Less This Year

Commodities analytics firm Mintec reports that the price of cooking a traditional Christmas Day dinner has fallen to its cheapest since 2011. As if you needed an excuse to double up on the pigs-in-blankets.

by Phoebe Hurst
Dec 8 2015, 12:30pm

Photo via Flickr user neal whitehouse piper

Incase you missed the schmaltzy ad campaigns and increasingly passive aggressive office Secret Santa emails, Christmas is fast approaching. While you probably haven't booked your train tickets back to the familial home or even begun to think about what to buy your mum (Body Shop gift sets = all the praise hands emoji), there's one festive task you have prepared for.

In fact, you've been thinking about it since July, fervently describing last year's chestnut stuffing to whoever will listen, and teasing yourself with supermarket turkey sandwiches. Yes, you're more than ready for Christmas Day dinner.

It's hard to pick the best part. Glazed parsnips? Sliced Christmas ham? Creamy bread sauce? Potatoes roasted in perfectly crispy duck fat? That fireside glass (or five) of Baileys? Christmas pudding and brandy butter?

READ MORE: The Christmas Lives in the UK's Convenience Store Snacks

This year's festive binge could taste even better, as commodities analytics firm Mintec reports that the price of cooking a traditional Christmas Day dinner has fallen to its cheapest since 2011.

It's a Christmas miracle!

Tracking the cost of festive meat and vegetables in a scarily official-sounding "Christmas Dinner Index," the firm found that the collective price of a typical Christmas dinner has dropped for the second consecutive year, falling 1 percent after a 5 percent decline between 2013 and 2014.

According to the Index, the price of pork has fallen by 13 percent this year, putting the meat at its cheapest since May 2008. This could be due to low prices across Europe, impacted by Russia's import food ban which has led to an increase in competition.

As if you needed an excuse to double up on the pigs-in-blankets.

Mintec also reveals that the cost of potatoes is down by 8 percent, thanks to low demand and a dry summer that led farmers to reduce plantings. In fact, 2015 is expected to have one of the lowest annual potato productions since 1960.

It's not just savoury trimmings that have seen a decline in price. Mintec also found that the cost of mince pies fell sharply in 2014 and dropped by a further 1 percent this year, despite a 10 percent increase in the cost of filling, driven up by rising prices of soft fruit. The cost of sugar—essential for that snow-like dusting—remains low and pastry prices are down, thanks to a reduction in the cost of wheat and butter.

However some festive foods have not enjoyed such a decrease. Christmas centrepiece fave, turkey is 1 percent more expensive than last year, something Mintec says is down to producers stocking up early. Compared to 2014, the bird has also been more expensive throughout the year, due to increased popularity and higher demand.

Mintec reports further bad news for anyone who likes to end their Christmas Day face down in a box of Quality Street (i.e. everyone). The price of chocolate is up, with cocoa powder and cocoa butter 30 percent and 11 percent more expensive respectively, making the price of milk chocolate 15 percent more expensive. This is down to lower production in the main cocoa-producing regions.

READ MORE: More Brits Than Ever Are Dining Out on Christmas Day

Brussels sprouts are also more expensive—7 percent, in fact. While Mintec doesn't include the vegetables in their index due to their "extreme seasonality" meaning price changes would not affect the overall cost of Christmas dinner, The Daily Telegraph reports that prices have increased thanks to lower production.

Guess we'll just have to do without the Brussels this year. More pigs-in-blankets, anyone?