Valentine’s Day: how grocers are marking the most romantic day of the year

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Whether you think it’s the perfect time to celebrate your loved one or a day designed specifically to guilt-trip us into spending more money, there’s no escaping it. Pink hearts and red roses are dotted around the supermarkets like beacons, despite the fact that many of us spent last month mourning our empty wallets.

Despite some people questioning the legitimacy of Valentine’s Day – and many would go as far as to call it a con – 76% celebrated the occasion in 2021 according to finder, with up to 91% of the UK potentially celebrating the event this year. That’s a lot of boxes of chocolates.

The UK’s Valentine’s Day spending is predicted to jump to £990 million this year, according to Statistica. This is an increase of nearly 15%, compared to 2021’s figures  – although of course we were in lockdown then. It’s a trend that is moving in the right direction though,  as since 2017, overall Valentine’s Day spending has increased by over £300 million.

Valentine’s Day is a hugely important event for grocers, who plan their seasonal and promotional items around the event up to a year in advance. It is the first seasonal event of the year and supermarkets, much like other retailers, are looking to boost their sales after the typical fall in sales in January.

All of the Big 4 grocers reported a sales decline last month, according to research from NielsenIQ and total overall UK sales fell 2.9% over the four weeks to 29 January.

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Some supermarkets started their promotional offerings as early as 20 January (we’re looking at you, Sainsbury’s!), while others look to hang up their displays and change their aisle colours to the iconic pink in the first week of February.

Many are increasingly capitalising on the growing sector by also catering for other events including ‘Galentine’s Day’ and Single Awareness Day – both of which fall on dates either side of 14 February.

Following last year’s Valentine’s lockdown, couples – and singles – are likely to be in the mood to celebrate hard. Partners who spent the day apart or socially distanced last year can now celebrate in a more appropriate manner.

And according to data from consumer research platform Attest, over 75% plan to celebrate their Valentine’s Day like they “usually would”, despite Covid-19 infection numbers still being high and death rates tracking above last month’s.

Despite being urged by the supermarkets to go big for Valentine’s this year, a tight budget and economic uncertainty have led to 36% of consumers saying they’re most likely to spend £25 or less on a gift this year. However, 21% do plan to ‘go big or go home’, spending between £50 – 100 on their partner.

Even the safe option of giving a card is fraught with difficulties this year, with over 50% saying they will give a card to their Valentine – but 40% of men saying they would “not be happy” to receive one.

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The month of February also celebrates LGBTQ+ history month and some grocers have launched new ranges to celebrate love and inclusivity.

Following a heated legal battle with Aldi, M&S brought out an LGBTQ+ edition of its iconic Colin the Caterpillar, with same-gender versions of the “couples” packs now available. Morrisons launched its rainbow range, which includes products ranging from gift bags to bath fizzers. The supermarket will also be donating £20,000 to the LGBTQ+ charity, AKT.

Despite restrictions easing, Covid-19 and the rising cost of living will still play a major part in the decision consumers make when deciding whether or not to head out or stay in this Valentine’s Day. It’s a close-run battle, with 36% planning on venturing out and 35% staying at home.

For the chefs at home who are planning to cook up a Valentine’s Day special, traditional supermarket meal deals have been coming through thick and fast. The classic selection of three courses and a bottle of wine at a bargain price is not to be sniffed at, especially for those feeling the pressure of soaring inflation rates.

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Some of the more interesting meal deals on offer include:


Available from as early as 6 February, Aldi has trumped other retailers with its impressive range of meal deals. It not only offers a menu for two, but also has one for families, as well as a specially curated Galentine’s deal.

The discount retailers does not offer a set menu, instead offering customers a range of items to choose from. The à la carte food choices range from 99p to £7.49.


Asda’s Valentine’s special is particularly impressive this year – for £15 shoppers can get an Extra Special starter, main, two sides, dessert, and either a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates. All standard stuff – but this year the deal also includes a free Sky Movies voucher to provide the evening’s entertainment.


This £15 meal deal offers quite the feast, with starters, mains, two sides, two drinks and dessert options all from Morrison’s The Best range. The supermarket told Grocery Gazette that it expects its “top-selling areas to be on our meal deal, flowers, chocolates and fizz”.


Cleverly tying its Valentine’s offer into its loyalty scheme, shoppers must be Clubcard holders in order to purchase a £15 meal deal. The offer includes a starter, main, two sides and dessert for two, which can be accompanied with wine, beer or a soft drink.


Last but not least, everyone’s favourite Valentine’s meal deal is back, offering premium dining experiences from your own home without breaking the bank. The upmarket grocer’s meal deal includes a starter, a main, a side, a dessert and a bottle of fizz or wine or a box of chocolates, all for light £20.

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Valentine’s Day promotions aren’t limited to traditional supemarkets either, as rapid grocer Gorillas has proven as it partners up with ‘intimate pleasure’ company WowTech Group to ensure “everyone has a good time this V-Day”.

Talking to Grocery Gazette about its decision to branch away from the traditional Valentine’s grocery offerings, Gorillas said: “The goal of this year’s campaign is to change the narrative around Valentine’s Day and make it feel more inclusive, with all types of love represented and supported.”

“We always try to be innovative around key calendar moments, so we’d definitely be looking to take a similar approach to seasonal events in the future, as we know our customers love when we add new and unusual products to our in-app offering.”

So, if meal deals aren’t your thing, then there are always rapid grocery companies – and with Gorillas’ extended Valentine’s range, it’s able to deliver “more than just groceries in minutes.”

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