There has been much discussion about consumers’ food shopping habits since the economic crisis that hit in late 2008, and which tipped the UK into recession. But as recovery is starting to look like it is on the cards, grocery market analyst IGD has turned its attention to the longer-term.
In a survey involving face-to-face interviews with 1091 people in August, some 54 per cent said they will be more careful about spending money after the recession.
For food manufacturers, this may mean that delivering good value foods should not be a short term strategy – but consumers will carry on hunting out the best deals even when they have more cash in their pockets.
Twenty-nine per cent of those asked said they would shop more at discount stores in the future, and 17 per cent said they would visit premium stores less.
Moreover, there seems to be a sway away from the high street, as 15 per cent said they would not shop there as much. Twenty three per cent said they would shop more at specialist stores, 22 per cent would shop online more, and 26 per cent said they would go to farmers’ markets more often.
A focus on value
Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said the findings do not mean shoppers intend to trade down. But she pointed out that they now expect “more from less, and they expect the food and grocery industry to keep delivering better value”.
Although she recognised that shoppers’ views do not always translate into action, this does seem to lay bear future opportunities for industry. “The more value companies can add, the stronger shopper loyalty will be.”
Where to in 2012?
IGD’s survey asked respondents to look ahead to their food habits in 2012.
It seems people expect that food prices will continue to rise, with 77 per cent expecting foods to be “a bit” or “much” more expensive by then. Almost half said they expected food to be better quality.
There was a strong flavour of more ethical and local preferences coming into play in 2012 too. Thirty-seven per cent of people said they expected to buy more local and regional foods, and 34 per cent more foods with high animal standards.
Thirty-one per cent said they expected to buy more fair trade products, and 15 per cent more organic foods.