We’ve all been experiencing dramatic changes to our daily lives over the past few months, and we’re all finding our own, differing ways to cope. But what has been the overall impact on UK food shopping behaviour, and how is it affecting the way we plan and eat our meals? What has really changed, and will the changes last..?
The Brand Nursery has conducted online research amongst a sample of 100 shoppers from across the UK. Some of what we’ve discovered will no doubt echo what you might have experienced, or expected. Other findings may surprise you.
Here are some of the key insights from that study:
1.–Shopping behaviour has changed, but the stores we use are largely the same
Our attitudes towards and experience of shopping is clearly very different under lockdown – 97% of shoppers are planning more carefully when to shop, and 89% say they are thinking more about what to shop for. 61% say they are using a list when they shop, and almost all find that shopping is taking longer, with queueing to get into the store becoming a new norm.
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority (74%) say they are finding shopping to be more stressful during lockdown.
However, the stores (both supermarkets and local specialist food stores) that are being used show appear to be largely unchanged – only the Co-Op showed any significant increase in penetration, probably due to its proliferation of stores within the heartland of local communities. Grocery sales figures across the supermarket estate have clearly increased during this period, so the number of visits, and the amount we are buying from stores have increased.
Respondents were also overwhelmingly positive about the way in which their supermarkets have coped during this period – over 90% of people agreed that “supermarkets have done really well to keep feeding people during this crisis”.
So, in the longer term, this crisis may not have any real impact on the pattern of where we shop.
2. Hanging onto familiar home comforts
Life may have changed, but many of us are trying as hard as possible to maintain as much normality as possible. Familiar ‘comfort’ foods were cited by a number of respondents as being the things they sought out and were enjoying most – no surprise too that with trips to pubs, bars and clubs now off the agenda that alcohol sales are up and in-home consumption of booze is increasing, as are crisps, chocolate and biscuits
The simple pleasure of a roast dinner on a Sunday was also mentioned plenty of times – another key anchor point in this disrupted new world – and barbecues featuring a good old British banger were also on the agenda for many.
Does this signal a brake on the demand for new cuisines and taste experiences as we re-discover, or place greater value, on what we know we like?