The Scottish tradition of celebrating Robert Burns’s birthday on 25 January leads to a six-fold increase in the demand for haggis, new research has found.
However, as a bonus to shoppers, the price of haggis also drops by about 25 per cent during this time.
Cesar Revoredo-Giha, Reader in Food Supply Chain Economics at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), looked at the demand for food and drink products associated with a Burns supper, including haggis, haggis ready meals – mainly haggis, neeps and tatties, and whisky in Britain.
Using Kantar Worldpanel data between 2013 to mid-2020, he found the demand for haggis was very stable over that time – even during the first lockdown from March 2020 – with a peak in the first month of every year.
Despite haggis being seen as a niche product, it is also very price sensitive with a price decrease of 1 per cent, leading to a 2.3 per cent increase in demand. Income also has an impact on demand with a 1 per cent increase in real income equating to a 2.8 per cent increase in the demand for haggis.
The demand for ready meals containing haggis (for instance, haggis, neeps and tatties), which represents a quarter of the haggis expenditure, also shows the same seasonality, almost doubling around Burns Night.
Like haggis, the demand for ready meals containing the product reacts to changes in prices and income, although to a lesser extent. A 1 per cent decrease in price increases demand by 0.6 per cent and a 1 per cent increase in real income increases demand by 2.4 per cent.
Whisky also has a marked seasonality but in this case, purchases increase during the Christmas period, when demand is 50 per cent higher than during the rest of the year.
However, unlike haggis and haggis ready meals, the demand for whisky does not change significantly with a reduction in the price.
Dr Revoredo-Giha said: “The results show the amazing importance of the Burns supper for haggis, with demand increasing about six times in the first month of the year compared to the rest of the year (in both quantity and expenditure).
“The price of haggis also shows some seasonality, contracting by about 25 per cent during the celebration period.
“Overall, the results indicate the importance of the Burns supper for haggis, ready meals and whisky, as well as the value of traditions for Scots across Britain.”
The report derives from work commissioned by the Scottish Government as part of the 2016-21 Research Programme on Food, Health and Wellbeing.
For more information, visit: A note on the demand for Burns’ night food and drink products