RICH, sweet and a rather indulgent treat savoured only once a year, it is the latest object of British buying fervour. But it seems we are not only snapping up Christmas puddings by the truck-load, we are also manically making them too.


There’s a pudding panic?

It’s not at the stage of the petrol panic, no, so don’t rush out and fill up your pantry with puddings. It’s more of a ‘pudding paranoia’ as concerns over a shortage of supply of certain products in the run-up to the festive season seems to have struck fear into the hearts of fans of the traditional Christmas Day dessert.


How so?

Data from market research firm Kantar reveals 449,000 consumers snapped up their Christmas pudding in September - a 76 per cent rise on the same period last year. Fraser McKevitt, Kantar's head of retail and consumer insight, said it wasn’t concerning yet, stressing the figures were “still relatively small numbers and anxiety around supply issues has not translated to panic buying”.


It’s still quite a jump, though?

It is and is still markedly higher than other rises for the same period - sales of toys were up 5% and sales of gift wrapping items up 10%.


And we are not just buying them?

Halloween hasn’t even bewitched us yet and #christmaspudding is an online trend, with social media users posting about their recipes and endeavours towards making the perfect Christmas pud.


We do have a real love affair with it?

Christmas - or plum - pudding dates back to the 14th century when it was a less recognisable concoction known as ‘frumenty’, made of mutton and beef, with raisins, prunes and wine.


Mutton and beef?

They were removed toward the end of the 16th century when the dish developed into a sweeter plum pudding. It is said that in 1714, King George I then made it a festive fixture at court, earning him the nickname ‘the pudding king’. By Victorian times, though, Christmas puddings had morphed into something similar to those we dine on now.


Dickens lent a hand?

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, cemented the idea of plum pudding as a Christmas dish and a symbol of Christmas cheer. He wrote: “Oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage.”


It became more than just a pudding?

According to records at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, the pudding took on a key role in a campaign to encourage the consumption of goods from across the Empire, with King George V and his family eating a heavily publicised pudding in 1927 made by royal chef André Cédard using ingredients from all over the British Empire, so perhaps he is indeed more entitled to the nickname his ancestor was given.


What about the sixpence?

Another Christmas tradition believed to have been brought over to Britain by Prince Albert was including a silver sixpence into the pudding mix. Every member of the household gave the mix a stir. and whoever found the sixpence in their own piece of the pudding on Christmas Day would see it as a sign that they would enjoy wealth and good luck in the year to come.


Back in 2021, early purchasing isn’t going well for all?

One Twitter user said: “Bought a Christmas pudding today to stockpile for Christmas…ate Christmas pudding tonight.”