Yet, despite soaring food inflation – which has dampened volume growth in staple products such as meat, poultry, bread and bakery, the majority (52%) of people were spending “about the same” amount on food in the beginning of 2013 as they were at the start of 2012, driven by retailer discounting.
Mintel’s British Lifestyles 2013 report said: “Fierce price promotions and the booming own-label market – which has benefited from austerity and thriving new product development – have gone some way to mitigate the impact of weak consumer confidence.”
‘To the detriment of brand loyalty’
The report also highlighted that, with budgets remaining constrained, consumers have also become increasingly flexible about where they shop and the products they buy, “to the detriment of brand loyalty”.
Of those shoppers changing their purchasing habits over the past year, price inflation was cited as the main motivation. Nearly nine out of 10 of people that stated they were spending more, said it was on account of higher prices.
“With confidence and optimism in short supply, the recession has taught consumers to be savvier: to question the validity of price hikes, to query the value of promotions,” said Alex Beckett, senior food analyst at Mintel.
Valued at £76bn
The in-home food market, valued at £76bn in 2012, rose by 23.7% from 2007 to 2012, amounting to an extra £14.5bn spent on food.
At the end of last year consumer market researcher Kantar Worldpanel predicted branded food manufacturers were likely to suffer further losses in market share as own-label products continued to grow in popularity.
The UK’s own-label market accounts for 45% of total grocery sales, it said.
Meanwhile, Kiti Soininen, head of Mintel’s UK food and drink research team, is taking part in a free one-hour webinar dedicated to learning the lessons of the horsemeat crisis to take place at 11am GMT on May 16.
More details are available here.