Guinness, sushi and bananas: Sainsbury’s 2021 in review


Guinness, sushi and bananas are just a handful of 2021’s top food and drink trends which have been identified by Sainsbury’s as part of its annual Year In Review.

Using data taken from its 17.5 million Nectar customers, the grocer has revealed which products took centre stage during a year of long-overdue celebrations, from Tik Tok cooking trends and a focus on healthy eating to summer bbqs and the obligatory Halloween pumpkin fun.

As 2021 kicked off, Sainsbury’s saw more customers than ever taking on Veganuary, with 16% more shoppers buying plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, compared to 2020. The most popular products included meat-free sausages and tofu, with hundreds of thousands of customers adding them to their baskets.

TikTok cooking videos caught the nation’s attention early in the year and February saw Sainsbury’s customers jumping on the Feta pasta viral bandwagon, with sales increasing by a whopping 62%.

Consumers made the most of the springtime celebrations as Covid restrictions were lifted, with St Patrick’s Day giving Guinness sales a boost by an enormous 128%, compared to 2020. One million Sainsbury’s customers also bought chocolate eggs in the week leading up to Easter Sunday, 29% more than in 2020.

Read more: UK supermarket sales top £7.1bn as shoppers head in-store

As life began to return to some degree of normality, May saw a return to on-the-go purchases with sandwich sales up 160% and salads, sushi and snacking products up 177%. Sainsbury’s Great Fruit and Veg Challenge in June saw Nectar customers purchasing more than 7.7 million bunches of bananas over the month, with Londoners named as the top banana buyers in 2021.

Sainsbury’s shoppers were trying to eat healthier for much of the year, buying over 6 billion portions of fruit and vegetables throughout the year. Carrots were the standout favourite, with over 375 million portions sold – which works out as five carrots for every person in the UK.

It wasn’t all about healthy eating though. Sainsbury’s shoppers bought an incredible three quarters of a million bags of crisps on 11 July as they prepared for an evening of celebrations – the day that Italy beat England 2 – 1 in the Euros.

Sainsbury’s customers got into the spirit of Halloween as well, with nearly 750,000 Brits heading picking up a pumpkin in-store – 22% more than the previous year.

As Christmas rolled around, customers prepared for the festivities by buying 3.3 million boxes of mince pies, 2.1 million bags of sprouts and 1.1 million bottles of fizz. Seasonal meat alternatives were also big a hit, with sales of plant-based products such as the Plant Pioneers No Turkey Stuffed Crown up 37% from 2020.

At Sainsbury’s we’re passionate about making healthy eating affordable, easy, and delicious,” said Mark Given, Chief Marketing Officer at Sainsbury’s.

“I’m delighted to see that customers have been making food choices that are healthier for both them and the planet, while also occasionally indulging in well-overdue celebrations in another unprecedented year.”

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