Consumers skip meals and move to frozen foods in wake of rising inflation

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers are changing their habits
Consumers are changing their habits

Related tags skills Consumer

Consumers are changing their eating habits by skipping meals and moving to frozen products in the wake of rising inflation, new research has revealed.

The changes come as the inflation rate for ​food and non-alcoholic beverages reached a 42-year high​Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose by 14.6% in the 12 months to September 2022, up from 13.1% in August. 

Research from Which? this week revealed that millions of households are skipping meals as they struggle with the cost-of-living crisis. 

Among those who said they are struggling most financially, half (50%) said that their household was skipping meals. And nearly half (46%) of consumers said they are finding it harder to eat healthily compared to before the crisis. This goes up to eight in 10 (78%) of those finding it very difficult financially.


Which? has called on supermarkets to help their customers with clearer pricing, promotions targeted at supporting customers on low incomes and by ensuring budget lines are widely available - particularly in locations where people need them most.

The ​research also showed that over eight in 10 (85%) people in the UK are making changes to save money on food as a result of the cost- of-living crisis. 

The most common one is looking out for food on promotion, with more than half (55%) saying that they do this. Half (50%) of respondents said they are trading down to cheaper products than they were buying previously. 

Sue Davies, Which? head of food policy, said: “The devastating impact of the cost of living crisis is, worryingly, leading to millions of people skipping meals or struggling to put healthy meals on the table. Supermarkets have a crucial role to play in supporting their customers through this very difficult time.​”

Frozen products

Meanwhile, according to more research conducted by Kirsty’s, the free from ready meal brand, it found that three quarters of shoppers (75%) are now buying more frozen products than ever before with 71% of shoppers stating that buying frozen meals is saving them money. 

According to UK shoppers, aside from the cost saving, other reasons for this switch to buying frozen is that the food lasts longer (77%), it’s cheaper (60%) and that it makes for less fresh food waste (39%). 

Kirsty Henshaw, founder of Kirsty’s said: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on shopping habits, and whilst shoppers still like the convenience of chilled meals when making choices for their evening meal, but when it comes to the weekly shop, we are seeing more shoppers than ever buying frozen. 

“The increases in costs are also obviously impacting food manufacturers, earlier this year we were prompted to start making frozen meals because of a global free-from manufacturer deciding to no longer serve the UK due to spiraling transport costs.”






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