WARWICK, ENGLAND — Pilgrim’s UK, a business unit of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., plans to produce over 4 million pork products in preparation for the surge of demand this holiday season.

Pilgrim’s said consumers are looking for affordable meat options this Christmas after warnings of turkey shortages due to the country's largest avian influenza outbreak and rising prices from inflation. The company anticipates increased pork demand for Christmas, including gammon — which is expected to grow in volume by 25% — and pork crackling joints. Both products experienced increased demand last holiday season.

“With Christmas turkey shortages and the rising cost-of-living front of mind, we know that consumers are looking to switch to more cost-effective pork products, such as gammon and pork crackling joints, for their Christmas dinner centerpieces,” said Rachel Griffiths, chief commercial officer at Pilgrim’s UK. “Not only is a gammon joint cheaper, costing around £8 per kilo, compared to a turkey at over £12 per kilo, but it’s also often slow cooked which uses far less energy, and therefore money, than conventional oven cooking. Gammon is incredibly versatile, is simple to prepare and cook and is absolutely delicious — making it an ideal choice for Christmas.”

Over the past four weeks, fresh pork has increased its share of the wider protein category to 13.3% in terms of volume compared to the last four weeks of December 2021, while fresh turkey has dropped by 85% in volume share during the same period.

“We started production early to meet this anticipated demand as consumers seek to avoid shortages and get their hands on affordable alternatives in time for Christmas,” Griffiths added. “Our dedicated teams have been working hard, producing over 1.6 million higher welfare, high quality gammon joints and more than 157,000 pork crackling joints to ensure our retail customers are well stocked for the festive period.”