It is not a surprise that the merchants feel like in heaven in December, as we bought a large amount of stuff as a result of the celebrations right after each other. Of course, the second most important Christian celebration after Easter carries the most of the weight in terms of both food and articles. It wouldn’t be hard to notice the change in the yearly consumption of certain things if the day of Santa Claus, or the last party of the year, were suddenly cancelled. Index collected the most holiday-dependent products on the food market.
The Hungarian Trade Association’s calculations are based on this year’s data that in December. HUF 90-95 billion more is spent on food than in any average month. But this amount of money is not segmented equally; some products are bought in such big amounts during the holidays that their consumption during this time comes to much more than the balanced yearly turnover.
We eat fish, at least, on Christmas
Everyone knows well how little amount of fish Hungarians eat, but it has to be repeated again: Hungarians eat few fish at an international level, although many studies have proved the beneficial effects of fish compared to meat. It comes from the Hungarian fish-eating habits being under the frog that December brings the important part of the yearly consumption, because there is a tradition for fish soup and fried catfish at Christmas for some reason.
The last month of the year performs so much over the average that, according to the data of GFK, 37% of the yearly consumption in 2014 and 2015 was in December. An average Hungarian ate 5.1 kilograms of fish last year.
Chocolate Santa takes all
Compared to the fish, the majority likes sweets and eats them all year round and, because of that, it is also ideal as a gift, so its consumption in the last month was way more than the yearly average. Sweets from the stores are not perishable, so people can start purchasing them early and the November-December consumption is worth to be looked at together in the case of these products.
According to the data of Nielsen, we bought 656 tons of sweets for HUF 3.4 billion for Santa Clause’s day last year (6th December), which broke every previous record, and it does not contain the Szaloncukor-consumption (Christmas fondant). The most popular item for the 6th of December is the traditional chocolate Santa, 432 tons were sold for more than HUF 2 billion last year. Therefore the Santa itself got 63% from the sweets market, while the snowman, reindeer, bogeyman etc. got altogether 10%. After Santa Claus the second most popular items were the traditional giftsets meaning some chocolate figures in a see-through plastic bag.
People bought traditional Hungarian Chocolate fondant for about HUF 6 billion last year and the whole sweets turnover, in connection to the holidays at the end of the year, came to HUF 10 billion in one and a half month.
The goose is slowly catching up with the carp
Although St Martin’s Day is in November, December is also surprisingly outstanding in terms of goose consumption. According to the data of GFK, 21% of the yearly goose consumption happened in December in 2015.
We are the nation of salty sticks
The winter holidays count as a real season on the market of salty sticks. According to the survey of the maker of Chio, there is a 33% higher chips consumption eaten compared to a summer month, and the degree of the salty mixes made of pretzels and salty sticks are even more, 50% more in the Christmas and New Year’s Eve period. Altogether 5 thousand tons, one-sixth of the yearly Hungarian salty snack production, is sold in December.
Interesting thing, that the consumption of potato chips in Hungary brings less proportion of the snack market than the European average, instead way more snacks made of flour are eaten (salty sticks, pretzels, crackers). We are in the 24th place on chips-consumption per capita among the 29 examined countries, but we are in the seventh place in terms of salty stick, pretzel and cracker consumption.
Our eternal friend for the last party of the year
According to the Nielsen, small-scale index the small-scale turnover of the wiener significantly jumps in November-December, which is the inevitable part of a New Year’s Eve party. Last year 11% more wieners were sold both in terms of value and quantity (butcher’s shops not included) than previously in September-October.
Champagne is too festive for Hungarians
Champagne is even more seasonal than fish in Hungary. If there were no Christmas and New Year’s Eve (but mainly the latter) then the champagne manufacturer would go bust based on the numbers of last year. In terms of money 47% of the yearly sale, happenening in small trades, happened in December. The quantity based on statistics showed even rougher data: according to this, 80% of the 22 million bottles of yearly sale happens on the 24th and 31th December.
Compared to other festive articles the consumption of champagne is not increasing in Hungary: while there is 2% more champagne drunk every year in other countries, the same degree of decrease was detected in Hungary, the industry lost 1.3 million consumers in ten years. According to the market research the reasons for the falling is, for example, that the Hungarians find champagne too festive, and people do not think of buying champagne for a family dinner.
But it is not only the champagne that is sold more during the holidays among the alcohols; practically all the alcoholic drinks, especially hard liquors. 15-20% of the yearly hard liquor sale happens during these few weeks – partly because quality alcohols are just as popular gifts for men as chocolates for kids. On the other hand, because of the New Year’s Eve parties and also it is probable that many can handle the family in large doses only with some alcohol.
Photo: Tamás Sóki/ MTI
Copy editor: bm