'Haggle' with suppliers on Christmas produce prices, hospitality operators told

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

Turkey production costs are expected to be lower this year, so operators are advised to negotiate on prices to get the best deal
Turkey production costs are expected to be lower this year, so operators are advised to negotiate on prices to get the best deal

Related tags: Economics, Price

Operators in the restaurant, pub and hotel sectors are being advised to engage in 'old-fashioned' haggling over prices with suppliers this Christmas to take advantage of lower production costs of festive favourites such as turkey and ham.

The cost of producing a 5.5kg turkey has fallen 4 per cent this year due to lower feed costs while pork and salmon remain in plentiful supply, according to Lynx Purchasing's latest Market Forecast report.  

Lynx managing director John Pinder said the state of the market meant operators should use the market to 'hold their nerve' against suppliers to negotiate the best price even if hoping to safeguard produce for a busy Christmas.  

“The temptation is to agree the prices being quoted by wholesalers and suppliers in order to secure supplies of core festive menu items," he said. "However, with inflation low, and producers benefiting from lower feed and transport costs, we think there’s definitely scope for some old-fashioned haggling.

“Understandably, suppliers tend to hold back some of the savings they make when margins are good in order to balance the bad times. Nobody begrudges farmers and food producers the chance to make a little more in the current market, but it’s important to remember that operators also take a margin hit when costs are high.

“In the current market, it’s only fair that producers, wholesalers and operators spread the upside and each take their share of the opportunity presented by good quality, price and availability on Christmas turkeys, as well as other seasonal menu staples such as ham and smoked salmon.”

Shelling out

While operators may be able to negotiate in some areas, Lynx Purchasing advises against doing so with beef, which is suffering from increased global demand. 

Operators who also shell out more on wine this Christmas may also benefit in the long run, says wine supplier Liberty Wines whose interim edition of its Premium On-trade Wine Report predicts that premium wine sales will continue to rise towards the end of the year. 

According to the report, wine sales in December 2014 showed significant growth on the same month in 2013 with 11 per cent more cases sold at 23 per cent higher value and it sees the trend continuing this year. 

Liberty Wines managing director David Gleave MW said: “The market preference for traditional choices at this time of year should be a key consideration for those making buying decisions at this crucial time of the year for on-trade profitability.

“Consumers willing to experiment with other varieties and styles during the year became more risk averse when spending more money, and while entertaining, in December.  The savvy wine buyer would make trading up within these traditional choices as easy as possible in order to enjoy a prosperous end to the year.”

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