Lamb was voted as the meat of choice for Kiwis this Christmas as part of the Classic Kiwi Christmas Census 2019.

Ham came in a very close second in the survey of over 1,300 Kiwis, which was conducted by Retail Meat New Zealand in conjunction with Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Lamb was the go-to meat of choice with 34 per cent of respondents, with ham only two votes behind in second place with 33 per cent.

Beef came third with 13 per cent.


The results represented a significant change in meat choice. In last year's survey ham came out on top with 37 per cent of the vote versus 30 per cent for lamb.

Over 40 per cent of respondents stated they would be spending Christmas Day with 10 or more people.

Feeding all those friends and family could be stressful but Alto Butcher of the Year 2019, Greg Egerton from Princes Street Butcher and Kitchen had some calming words of advice for Kiwis keen for a relaxed festive period.

"My advice to everyone is prep like a pro. For me, Christmas is about spending time with my friends and family, so I don't want to be spending it holed up in the kitchen away from everyone. If you're planning on cooking a leg of lamb this year, have a look at for some tips on prepping your meat or ask your local butcher for their top tips on reducing your kitchen time this Christmas".

Alto Butcher of the Year 2019, Greg Egerton. Photo / Supplied
Alto Butcher of the Year 2019, Greg Egerton. Photo / Supplied

Cooking methods for the meat on the day were dominated by ovens and barbecues, capturing 51 per cent and 43 per cent respectively.

As for what makes up the rest of our plates, potatoes and mixed salads dominated the results in this domain, taking a 90 per cent and 75 per cent share respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum, Brussels sprouts – that Christmas tradition everyone loves to hate – would only grace the plates of 7 per cent whilst kale came bottom with a miserly 2 per cent.

For dessert, the quintessentially Kiwi pavlova (71 per cent) took the top spot, with trifle (48 per cent), strawberries and ice cream (47 per cent) and fruit salad (46 per cent) in close pursuit.


The survey also found it was a notable favourite Christmas tradition of many to have trifle for breakfast on Boxing Day.

Lamb was the most popular Christmas Day meat. Photo / Supplied
Lamb was the most popular Christmas Day meat. Photo / Supplied

Once the eating is over, attention turns to some quality time with the family.

Top activities for New Zealanders included opening presents (80 per cent), backyard games (50 per cent) and 40 per cent having a sleep (aka a "food coma").

Seventeen people even stated they were going to get out for a round of golf.

Other trends found in the Classic Kiwi Christmas Census 2019 were:

• Eating two meals on Christmas Day is the preferred option for Kiwis (50 per cent).

• Most Kiwis (54 per cent) will be eating their main Christmas meal in the early afternoon (12pm-2pm).

• Despite it being the traditional Christmas main meat of choice in other western countries, turkey is not favoured here in Aotearoa, with only 8 per cent of Kiwis choosing the big bird.

• Most Kiwis (58 per cent) estimate they'll have one to two days' worth of leftovers after Christmas Day.

• Those who choose ham this Christmas are more likely to choose chicken as a secondary meat choice.

• Three quarters of those who choose beef as a main meat are likely to barbecue it rather than using the oven.