An analysis by BPEX of UK food shopping trends has found some cause for encouragement, when viewed from a production perspective, but the underlying message for farmers is that only a long-lasting, sustained economic recovery will get consumers spending more on food.
“Shoppers are likely to continue to be less loyal to supermarkets and brands, may visit two or more stores on a shopping trip and use promotions and coupons more often,” said BPEX, drawing input from several recent food surveys and consumer confidence studies.
While commenting that the current improvement in general economic conditions is obviously welcome and has, at last, given some workers a real terms pay increase, BPEX pointed out that consumers still do not have the disposable income that was available pre-recession. In addition, although people expect things to improve in the future and are already better off than six months or a year ago, many are still “much worse off compared to 2008″.
It’s estimated, for example, that the average worker in Britain is now approximately £5,000 a year worse off compared to 2008; nearly 20% below where their income level would be had wage growth continued in line with inflation throughout the last six years.
Concluding, therefore, that the “savvy shopper” might be here to stay, BPEX said that many British shoppers, regardless of their current situation or how they see their future financial position, have acquired shopping habits during the recession that will take time to change.
That’s despite a rise in consumer confidence, shown by studies both in the UK and Europe, an upward trend which gives encouragement for the longer-term but isn’t expected to deliver immediate spending results.