Britons are shifting away from fresh food to cheaper frozen items and buying less fruit and vegetables and fresh meat, fish and poultry as they seek to manage rising inflation, market researcher NielsenIQ said on Tuesday.
With wages failing to keep up with inflation, which was 9.9% in August, UK consumers are battling a worsening cost-of-living crunch.
NielsenIQ said total grocery sales rose 4.7% on a value basis in the four weeks to 8 October year-on-year. However, a decline in volume sales of 6% shows that British shoppers are spending more at supermarkets, due to inflation, but buying less.
The market researcher said volume sales of fresh produce fell 8.3%, while volume sales of meat, fish and poultry fell 8%.
"In recent weeks there has been a small shift away from fresh to frozen, (and) slightly less spend on fruit and vegetables and fresh meat, fish and poultry," Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said.
As well as shoppers who opt to stop buying certain products, NielsenIQ said other trends are a focus on monitoring the cost of the overall shopping basket, choosing private-label products and shopping more at the discounters Aldi and Lidl.
NielsenIQ said that over the 12 weeks to 8 October, private-label accounted for 53% of grocery spending.
Online's share of grocery sales fell to 10.9% versus 11.1% in the previous data set.
Fastest Growing Supermarkets
Echoing data from rival Kantar last week, NielsenIQ said Asda was the fastest growing of Britain's top three supermarkets over the 12-week period.
It said Asda's sales growth of 6.9% reflected weak comparatives but also suggested its new value range was having an impact.
Market leader Tesco's sales rose 4.2%, while Sainsbury's sales were up 5.1%.
Separately on Tuesday, data from Barclaycard showed Britons are spending more nights in, taking packed lunches to work and eschewing new clothes and treats to ensure they can cover rising energy bills.
News by Reuters, edited by ESM – your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.