At, least that’s the view of Ed Garner, comms director with the consumer market research specialist Kantar Worldpanel.
Speaking to the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Food, Drink and Agriculture group recently, Garner gave an entertaining canter (yes, horsegate was mentioned) through the trading status of the major multiples, hard discounters, upmarket retailers and others.
Jockeying for the lead continues, with Tesco down slightly but still in front on 29.8% market share; Asda next on 17.2%, still just ahead of Sainsbury (16.8%), and Morrison (11.5%) tailing in fourth place, said Garner. And, while they still command relatively small market share, Aldi and Lidl are coming up fast on the outside track, he added. "They have moved from selling cheap stuff to selling quality stuff cheaply," he noted.
All the big players are using the whip on their premium own-label ranges; reformulating and relaunching ranges to stress points of difference. And the reason? They all recognise that, despite the squeeze on household expenditure, upmarket food retailers like Waitrose and Marks & Spencer had been “over-indexing” on sales of premium fresh and chilled foods, he said.
For Waitrose, food provenance is absolutely critical. “If you buy a fish, they even give you its Christian name,” he quipped. Even Tesco is now talking about food rather than just price, he added.
With Christmas coming, they will all be hoping they got it right. Only when the sales figures are released will we know if they got it right.