Following its study of 18 countries and 18000 consumers, Deloitte concludes shoppers in western Europe are each set to spend, on average, €190 on food over the seasonal period, a fall of 3.5 per cent on 2008 figures.
And reflecting the challenging economic climate, cost is the number one criteria.
"Price and value for money are far and away the prime concerns for consumers this Christmas," Deloitte partner Gilles Goldenberg told a press conference in Paris.
Further, the consumer is prepared to scout around for the best deal with "considered purchases set to replace impulsive buys".
As a tough year for businesses comes to a close, there are signs that the economic situation in some European countries might have stabilised. Last week the eurozone officially left recession after growth between July and September. Germany's economy grew by 0.7 per cent in the quarter, France’s by 0.3 per cent. The UK, however, remains stuck in recession with the economy contracting by 0.4 per cent from July to September.
And in pace with this situation, Deloitte's Gilles Goldenberg asserts that for this Christmas there is a sense that the situation is "less pessimistic" than last year.
The bigger spenders
Deloitte's figures reveal that 62 per cent of western Europeans will this year, on average, spend about the same amount as 2008. Consumers in Luxembourg are set to spend the most - €315 - on seasonal food. And despite being hit hard by the recession, the Irish, who will cut their food costs by 6.1 per cent, are still slated to be the second biggest spenders, consuming €265 a head on food.
The Spanish, also much impacted by the economic downturn, reach the number three slot, predicted by the report to spend €215 on Christmas fare.
Meanwhile, consumers in Germany, The Netherlands, and the UK will spend the least on food at Christmas time, with €125, €130 and €150 a head respectively.
Private label boom
Across Europe, private label continues to grab market share away from national brands: a trend that will continue at Christmas, according to the Deloitte survey.
"Price is the number one priority, and private label are making big efforts to understand, control and reduce the price structure of their own products. Now dominant, private label will fix the reference price for sales on the market to which brands will have to reference themselves and adjust," claims the report.
And while in the past, private label were only a "secondary alternative to brands", Deloitte suggests that consumer preference has now reversed this. "They are increasingly turning to private label, and brands are only an alternative if they can show added-value," said the consultants.