Millions of people are expected to dig out the frying pan next week to lift lockdown spirits with some pancake flipping fun – however new research from Central England Co-op suggests the popularity of Pancake Day has already been soaring.
Ahead of this year’s Pancake Day on February 16, the retailer has revealed data on shopping habits related to the annual event and which toppings have been finding their way into shopper’s baskets in recent years.
The research reveals a significant growth last year in both sales of raw ingredients for people looking to make their pancakes from scratch, as well as in ready-made mixes for those looking for a quicker and easier alternative.
On the day before Pancake Day and on the day itself, sales of Co-op Farms Plain White Flour (1.5kg) were up 17.7% year on year, while sales of Co-op Farms Self Raising White Flour (500g) more than doubled (up 112.8%).
There was also strong growth across the retailer’s free-range eggs, with sales of Co-op Large Free-Range Eggs up 9.9%, Co-op British Medium Free-Range Eggs up 4.1% and more impressively Co-op Organic Eggs nearly trebled up 170% compared to 2019.
Year on year growth in sales of milk and sugar also suggest a Pancake Day boost.
Ready-made pancake mixes have continued to grow in popularity in recent years and the data shows another jump in 2020, with sales of Co-op Pancake and Batter Mix up 15.7%, while ready-made pancakes also proved popular, with Abra-ca-debora 6 Sweet Dutch Pancakes up 38.8%.
In terms of toppings, the research reveals some interesting trends in fruit sales suggesting many shoppers turned to a healthier option to top their pancakes.
Loose lemons were up 21% year on year with over 11,000 loose lemons sold in Central England Co-op stores. Interestingly though sales of bottled lemon juice were down 19%.
Bananas are always a popular topping and sales of Co-op Small Fairtrade Bananas were up 35% year on year, while the data also shows spikes in popularity for Co-op Raspberries (up 51.3%), Co-op Blueberries large punnets doubled in sales and Co-op Irresistible Strawberries nearly trebled in sales.
For those with a sweeter tooth, syrups again proved most popular with the top three favourites in Central England Co-op stores, Lyles Golden Syrup (2,898 sold), Lyles Squeezy Chocolate Syrup (2,530 sold) and Lyles Squeezy Butterscotch Syrup (1,654 sold).
Chocolate spread remains a firm favourite with shoppers and grew again year on year in 2020, with sales of Nutella up 31.7% – in fact customers bought 2,647,300 grams of Nutella in 2020.
Creams were also up year on year by 7%, with the biggest seller Co-op Squirty Cream 250g up 35.5% year on year.