Rock lobster served on Aussie tables as offal gets thumbs down, ABS supermarket scanning data shows

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More rock lobster is being served around Aussie dinner tables, but the cheapest cuts have failed to make a pandemic comeback.

Supermarket scanner data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this month offers a close look at what we are putting into our supermarket trolleys and some insight into food spending habits over the pandemic.

The data shows sales of rock lobster and crab have almost tripled in two years, from $5m in June 2019 to $14m in June 2021 — a rise of 180 per cent.

The delicacy’s rise in popularity can be explained by the fact they have been cheaper locally, brought on by market closures in China which boosted local supply.

Indulgence in treats was also on the rise, with sales increasing for ice cream (21 cent), potato chips (25 per cent) and soft drinks (26 per cent).

However, over the same time period, sales of offal plunged 19 per cent.

While it may have been a popular and economic choice during the Great Depression and world wars, sales plunged from $26 million to $21 million, signalling the cheapest cuts did not make a pandemic comeback and the younger are steering away from dining on animal entrails and internal organs.

17 Aug 2006 Coles Supermarket  - generic shops shop shopping trolley lock locked shoppers retail stores
Camera IconPeople are buying more rock lobster. Credit: News Limited

Seafood sales were generally up, with purchases of fish and squid (line fishing) up 100 per cent and oysters and prawns both up around 30 per cent.

Meanwhile, despite many Aussies forced to work from home during the pandemic, prepared meals were the order of the day for many, with sales soaring from $451 million to $823 million, up a staggering 82 per cent.

Coffee and tea sales shot up a more modest 14 per cent, clocking up $693 million in sales in June 2021, perhaps a sign the walk to the local cafe was preferable than the supermarket variety for locked down residents who have found the stroll a daily highlight.

The absence of social gatherings and barbecues at home, which have been off the cards for some states such as Victoria and NSW due to Covid restrictions, could also explain the drop in ice sales, down 14 per cent.

The boom in pandemic baking to keep busy in isolation also appears to have had its moment, with confectionary, sugar, eggs and prepared baking mixes spiking in June, 2020 but falling again in 2021.

The ABS scanner data comes from major supermarket chains, making up about 84 per cent of all consumer spending via supermarkets.

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