Food Matters, Retail food and drink trends

Shoppers spend extra £2bn on food and drink

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Shoppers in the UK spent an additional £2bn on food and drink between February and March, as supermarkets see huge increase in demand. New data from market analysts Nielsen shows that people made 80m more shopping trips than they did during the same period last year.

The huge increase in consumer shopping activity saw sales increase by 20% during the four-week period between February 24the and March 21st. The increase was particularly pronounced during the week ending March 21st, with a 43% rise recorded, just before supermarkets introduced social distancing measures.

This massive increase has seen resilient suppliers and retailers have to react quickly to ensure shelves are stocked with items that consumers need, with many producers ramping up in-demand product lines and retailers changing the ways they operate to accommodate the extra demand.

Some key points from the data:

  • Frozen food sales rose by 84% compared to last year
  • Online grocery sales increased sharply, with two in 10 households placing online grocery orders
  • 67% increase in beer, wine and spirit sales with bars and restaurants closed

Mike Watkins, UK head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, told the Guardian, “With households making almost three extra shopping trips in the last four weeks, this small change in individual shopping behaviour has led to a seismic shift in overall shopping patterns.

“As well as increased store visits, consumers opted to shop online – many for the first time. However, unlike stores there is a finite capacity for online grocery shopping, due to warehouse capacity and available delivery slots, and this will have limited the growth of online sales.”

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