Buying food for today, or tonight, rather than for the week ahead, is set to become an increasing trend in UK supermarkets according to Sainsbury’s, commenting after reporting a 6% fall in pre-tax profits for the 28 weeks to September 27.
The biggest retailer of Freedom Foods, selling 280 RSPCA-approved products, Sainsbury’s also reported a pre-tax loss of £290m for the 28-week period, alongside a warning that sales in supermarkets will be falling for the “next few years”.
“While the food and grocery products customers buy are largely the same today as they were 10 years ago, the way customers shop for them has changed significantly over the past five years,” said the company, whose latest results were published this morning. “From 2009, the recession and a squeeze on household income led to customers shopping more frequently and buying fewer items on each occasion, controlling their budgets and reducing waste.”
Agreeing that such new ways of shopping also suited the increasingly busy lifestyles of many customers, the company forecast more of the same in the future.
“We expect to see further growth in the number of visits to stores from customers who are buying food for today, for tonight or for just a couple of days, while visits from customers doing a full weekly shop will continue to decline,” said Sainsbury’s, adding that this would place increased emphasis on product freshness, choice, availability, inspiration and both the ease and speed of shopping.
In response to such developments, the supermarket giant pledged to maintain its focus on quality, provenance and sustainability, factors which it said already “differentiates us from our competitors”.
“All our fresh, breaded and cooked chicken is from the UK, as is fresh pork and fresh lamb in the main season,” it said. “Our fresh and frozen beef, and beef used in fresh ready meals, pies, sandwiches, quiches and soups is British or Irish.”
The company also declared its “long-standing commitment to British farming” and to the 2,200 farmers and growers in its 10 development groups, all set alongside its status as the “biggest retailer of Freedom Foods”.