Is the traditional Christmas pudding in danger of being consigned to history and replaced by a sponge alternative?
For the first time ever, Tesco offered more festive sponges than Christmas puddings this year: 12 sponges compared with 10 traditional puddings.
The supermarket chain said the change was due to younger diners, particularly Millennials, preferring sponges because they are easier to digest than heavier, fruited puddings.
In 2013, five times as many shopper bought Christmas puds compared with sponges. Now, it’s only twice as many – and that gap is predicted to have narrowed even more this year.
Last Christmas Tesco saw demand for sponge alternatives grow by nearly 10% year-on-year, while sales of traditional puds remained stable. This year it expects even more customers to have favoured sponges.
Tesco seasonal bakery buyer Vicky Smith explained: “Sponge alternatives are proving popular because tastes are changing, particularly among younger people who are generally not so keen on fruited puddings.
“There’s also more innovation in sponges, as shapes and centres can be different. An example is our finest*Orange Liqueur Sponge with Belgian Chocolate Sauce, that you pour into the middle and let it gently cascade out. Another top seller in the run up to Christmas was our finest* Gingerbread and Butterscotch Melt Pudding [finished with an edible amber lustre].
“Along with Brussel sprouts, pudding is now the most divisive part of the festive feast – the choice between a traditional Christmas pud or a modern alternative. But if demand carries on at this present rate, it may not be too long before the festive sponge takes over completely.”