Cost cutting efforts boosts demand for simpler meals

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Cost cutting efforts boosts demand for simpler meals

Cost cutting efforts boosts demand for simpler meals
April 21
10:20 2023
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As people continue to endure the cost-of-living crisis, with food inflation rising to 18.2%*, new findings from Bakkavor’s quarterly ‘State of the Nation Report’ show Brits are spending more time planning their shop, staying in rather than going out, and on the lookout for new ideas on energy efficient cooking tools and techniques.
Bakkavor’s research highlighted 10 top trends to watch, in terms of people’s food habits.
1. Price remains the dominant issue for shoppers
As prices accelerated, so too did consumers’ focus on price, questioning the value of their purchases and looking for cheaper options to help cope with rising inflation. There was a steady increase in the proportion that said they would be choosing cheaper products to help manage grocery spend (61%, up from 51% in Jan 22), or buying fewer treats (58%, up from 48%). Additionally, 46% said they would be going to cheaper stores (up from 39%).
2. Reduced items in shopping basket as a result of tightly planned shopping list
By planning more, shoppers were able to decide where they can cut back and what they can
do without in order to prevent grocery budgets from escalating. This ultimately led to less
items purchased when they did shop, with volumes falling for items not considered essential. In the last three months, shoppers said they spent more time planning how their shopping budget was spent and the meals they eat (to 37% and 26% respectively).
3. Using more energy efficient cooking tools and techniques
With the threat of high energy bills, especially during the winter, many have moved away
from the oven or using multiple cooking methods for one meal. The results showed a significant number of people planning to increase their use of air fryers (30%), microwaves (22%), and slow cookers (13%) in the coming months. Food that does not need cooking became more popular as well.
4. Noticing empty shelves for particular items
The effects of poor weather combined with high energy prices was seen on supermarket shelves, with 59% of shoppers saying that they noticed a shortage of fresh fruit and veg in the last three months.
5. Simpler meals with fewer, more filling, ingredients
With fewer products purchased and less appliances used to cook, meals have become simpler, according to the research. Less on the plate means more filling ingredients are used to compensate such as bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. Pizza is more popular than ever – February 2023 saw a 13-week record period for the chilled pizza and bread sector.
6. More frequent visits to shops
The big weekly shop is going to be being replaced with more frequent visits to supermarkets. However they are visiting stores for more specific reasons and focusing on buying particular items when they are there. While 35% said they anticipated doing more big weekly shops in the coming months, a third (32%) anticipated more top-up shops or shops for one or two specific items (31%).
7. Eating out less
With people’s budgets under pressure, many were cutting back on eating out. The research found around two thirds (67%) said they expected to eat out less this year than they normally would.
8. Scratch cooking remains popular
With people cutting back on eating out, the Bakkavor research found that 65% of consumers are scratch cooking in a bid to help with cost saving.
9. Budget-conscious health
There was some resurgence for healthy eating, with signs that health will become more important once food inflation subsides. 46% said they were trying to eat more fruit and veg (however, this was down on Jan 22 – 52%). Demand for healthier lunches grew from 30% in Jan 22, to 44% in April 23.
10. Uplift in sustainability concerns
Almost one in five (18%) said they were looking for food which was sustainable, broadly similar to a year ago at 21%. A fifth of people said they were actively reducing their food wastage, while the proportion that said less packaging was important to them increased to 40% (up four percentage points in the last nine months).
Claire Smith at Bakkavor comments: “With this month being nicknamed “awful April” for the second consecutive year, consumers have become used to cutbacks and stringent planning to cope with the cost of living crisis. The ways people are adapting now are likely to continue for the foreseeable, and will have a bearing on the industry. With many eating out less, people’s homes will feature more prominently for gatherings and entertainment, particularly during the upcoming bank holidays next month. Meanwhile, eating in is being streamlined to simpler meals, with more filling ingredients to compensate. With the worst of COVID-19 over, and confidence to step out back to normal, we are also seeing supermarket visits becoming more frequent.
“At Bakkavor, by staying on the pulse of the latest trends with our quarterly ‘State of the Nation’ research, we understand the challenges that consumers are facing, and seek to provide people with great quality fresh food that meets their budget.”
*Consumer price inflation in the year to February 2023 (Office for National Statistics, released 6th April 2023, ONS website, Cost of Living Insights: Food https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/articles/costoflivinginsights/food#:~:text=The%20prices%20of%20food%20and,the%20year%20to%20January%202023)
All other findings were taken from the Bakkavor State of the Nation Report April 2023. The research was conducted for Bakkavor by One Pulse: 500 respondents Jan – Apr 2023.

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