Shoppers panic buy Christmas puddings as stockpiling takes on festive flavour

Stockpiling has a festive flavour the second time around as shoppers buy up Christmas puddings so they don’t go short on the big day.

Production has been hit by a flour shortage caused by the worst harvest in 40 years and a downturn in supplies of nuts and fruit due to labour problems caused by the pandemic.

And with more families planning to spend Christmas at home this year, the demand is higher than ever.

With 12 weeks to go, luxury food supplier Cartwright & Butler has had a massive surge in demand, six weeks before the usual peak order date.

Brand director Sonia Whiteley-Guest said: “People are planning early for Christmas.” Turkey producers have stepped up availability as they expect a surge in demand.

It comes as 18 more Bernard Matthews turkey plant staff tested positive for Covid-19 taking the total to 36. Production at Holton, Suffolk, has not been hit. Bosses blamed car sharing and are doing more tests.

This year we expect to spend an average £70 less, down from £582 in 2019 to £512, new research from Moneysupermarket has found.

One in eight of those surveyed put the drop in spending down to a change in their financial circumstances because of Covid-19, while similar numbers are keen to avoid overspending.

Andrew Hagger, finance expert at Moneycomms.co.uk said: “Ignore the glitzy hard sell, and the Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness as they are simply ways of trying to part you with your hard-earned cash.”

He added the key to planning financially for Christmas is also to shop for Christmas every week in the build-up.

He added: “Not only does this help you with your budgeting, with just one present to think of each week it helps avoid the panic buys which tend to lead to overspending. It also takes away the stress of last-minute shopping.”