Even better-off families are shopping for bargains as they struggle to make ends meet
Food price rises have outpaced wage increasesHousehold budgets have been stretched to breaking pointShoppers are increasingly turning to bargain deals, multi-buy offers and vouchers to put enough food on the table
08:37 GMT, 13 December 2012
Families are changing their daily diet to match the bargain food offers from supermarkets amid the longest cost of living squeeze in at least 100 years.
At one time, shoppers had a fixed idea of what they would eat each week, while touring the aisles and filling the trolley was done on automatic pilot.
However, as food price rises have outpaced increases in wages since 2008, household budgets have been stretched to breaking point.
THE PRICE OF A SHOPPING BASKET: HOW FOOD PRICES ARE SOARING
Kingsmill Great Everyday Medium Sliced Soft White Bread (800g) – Sainsburys
Basics British Boneless Pork Shoulder Joint (Approx 1.4Kg)- Sainsbury's
Maris Piper potatoes(2.5kg) – Tesco
Green Cabbage Loose – Tesco
Everyday Value Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets Large (812g) – Tesco
Everyday Value Cold Water Prawns (300g) – Tesco
Smartprice Mixed Weight Eggs (6) – ASDA
Extra Special Aberdeen Angus Minced Beef (500g) – ASDA
Extra Large Cauliflower – ASDA
Now shoppers are increasingly turning
to bargain deals, multi-buy offers and vouchers to ensure they are able
to put enough food on the table.
than half of shoppers (52 per cent) say they often change meal plans
based on which products are on promotion at the supermarket, according
to the latest research published today by the Institute of Grocery
research found that it is better off families and young people who are
most likely to make changes to what they eat based on the latest offers.
Families are changing their daily diet to match the bargain food offers from supermarkets
Some 62 per cent of the wealthier ABC1 families often change what meals they buy to take advantage of promotions compared to 53 per cent of poorer households.
This might be because wealthier families have greater scope to switch away from expensive food while poorer households are already relying on cheap value lines.
At the same time 60 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds often change their eating habits based on what is on promotion, compared to 47 per cent of those aged 55 and up.
Young people have been particularly hard hit by the rising cost of living and there has been virtually no growth in their incomes in the last four years.
The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics put annual wage growth at just 1.8 per cent, while industry research shows food prices are rising more than twice as fast at 4.6 per cent.
Hit hard: The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics put annual wage growth at just 1.8 per cent, while industry research shows food prices are rising more than twice as fast at 4.6 per cent
Reduce waste: Shoppers are freezing more food items to increase shelf-life and more people are planning their meals says IGD chief executive, Joanne Denney-Finch
The IGD chief executive, Joanne Denney-Finch, said: ‘We have become a nation of savvy shoppers as austerity has become the ‘norm’.
Before the credit crunch most of us would tend to do our food and grocery shopping at the same store and buy pretty much the same products week-in, week-out.
Ms Denney-Finch: ‘But now, we are shopping around more and also making the most of the different offers available to us.
‘Over four in ten (43 per cent) shoppers say they are freezing more of the fresh items they buy on multi-buy in order to increase their shelf-life and reduce waste.
'While 35 per cent of shoppers told us
they are planning more meals according to the dates on multi-buy fresh
food, over the last six months.
‘And even better-off families are adjusting their shopping habits as they adjust to the squeeze on incomes.’
One result of the spending squeeze is that households are cutting back on making one large weekly shop in favour of more regular trips to take advantage of daily deals.
The changes have implications for the health of sales of fruit, vegetables and fresh meat, which are down according to official government data.
The poorest 10 per cent of households are buying 26 per cent less meat, 25 per cent less fruit and 15 per cent fewer vegetables than five years ago, according to a study for the government’s food and farming department, DEFRA.
The evidence from the growing number of food banks is that some parents are actually going without meals on some to ensure they can feed their children.
One recent study, funded by Tesco, found one in 10 families said they were sometimes skipping meals or relying on charity and hand-outs.
The chain recently supported a two day campaign inviting food donations to support the work of food banks across the country.