The Christmas pudding could be going extinct

It’s one of the most traditional festive desserts and for many, it wouldn’t be Christmas without one of them on the table.

But supermarkets have revealed that the Christmas pudding’s popularity is waning as younger shoppers prefer to buy alternative sponge desserts.

Tesco and Asda have told FEMAIL Food & Drink exclusively that an ‘older demographic’ buy more Christmas puddings, with Tesco adding that sales of alternative sponge puddings have steadily increased since 2013.

Tesco and Asda has told FEMAIL that an ‘older demographic’ buys Christmas puddings, with younger shoppers opting for sponge puddings instead

Asda said it has introduced more alternative options for younger shoppers who prefer sponge puddings this year, with flavours including Ginger, Black Forest, Sticky Toffee and Chocolate.

Meanwhile Tesco has more sponge alternatives than traditional Christmas puddings for the first time this year, with 12 sponges compared with 10 festive puds.

It is thought younger shoppers prefer sponge puddings as they are not as heavy or as richly spiced, and don’t often contain dried fruit.  

The supermarket’s buyers say that in 2013, five times as many shoppers bought Christmas puddings compared with sponges.

Sponge puddings, such as this treacle version, have nearly overtaken Christmas puddings, sales figures from Tesco reveal

Sponge puddings, such as this treacle version, have nearly overtaken Christmas puddings, sales figures from Tesco reveal

But recent figures suggest it is now only twice as many, and the gap is expected to narrow even further this year. 

Last year, the store said demand for sponge puddings grew by nearly 10 per cent on the previous year, while sales of Christmas puddings plateaued.

But it’s not the case with every supermarket. Sainsbury’s says its traditional Christmas puddings are just as popular as ever, outselling sponge puddings by six to one.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: ‘While classic puddings still dominate, the demand for alternative desserts– particularly continental-inspired cakes – is certainly on the up. 

‘Sales of our Taste the Difference Prosecco Panettone, for instance, are up 222 per cent year-on-year.’

Tesco seasonal bakery buyer Vicky Smith added: ‘These sponge alternatives are proving popular as tastes are changing, particularly with younger people who are generally not so keen on fruited puddings.’

She added: ‘Along with 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 its present rate it might not be too long before the festive sponge takes over completely.’