Some 51% of UK shoppers plan to cut back on the weekly food shop to combat the cost of living crisis, a new study by Grant Thornton and Retail Economics has found.
For most consumers, cutting back on food spend will involve switching to cheaper private-label products and the discounters (52%), using loyalty schemes and vouchers more often (40%) and buying more in bulk (32%).
Households in even more distress are having to resort to more extreme measures – a third of low-income shoppers say that they plan to cut back on their food shop by eating less.
Weekly Food Shop
'The weekly food shop is one of the first and most visible areas that households cut back on,' the study found. 'Food prices are rising sharply and as a regular high-frequency purchase, consumers are quick to feel the impact on their budgets.
'The UK grocery market is also highly competitive, giving shoppers plenty of opportunities to shop around and trade down [e.g. discounters, private label].'
In terms of non-essential categories, consumers are also keen to cut back on clothing and footwear – close to half (47%) of households plan to reduce their spend on fashion, including 58% of 18-24 year olds.
Some 44% plan to cut back on hospitality and leisure, 35% are cutting back their media subscriptions (such as Netflix, Spotify etc), while a third (33%) plan to cut back on holiday spend.
“Consumers are experiencing the tightest squeeze on disposable incomes for decades," commented Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics. "Faced with rapid inflation, rising interest rates, and higher taxes, household finances are being tested from all angles."
Overall, nine in ten UK consumers plan to cut back their spending to cover sharp increases in living costs, whether by trading down, shopping less often, or sacrificing certain purchases altogether.
“Against this more cautious consumer backdrop, retailers and brands that fail to meet the needs of their customers will quickly be left exposed," added Lim.