Half of Britons changing food-buying habits to cope with cost-of-living crunch

By Reuters   July 19, 2022 | 11:20 pm PT
Half of Britons changing food-buying habits to cope with cost-of-living crunch
A woman in a protective mask is seen at Andreas Grocery store after it received a delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 20, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Dylan Martinez
Almost half of Britons are changing what they buy to feed their families as they try to navigate a worsening cost-of-living crisis, according to survey data published on Wednesday.

The research from food assurance scheme Red Tractor and polling firm YouGov found that 46 percent of people are changing their buying habits, with 30 percent purchasing less meat and 13 percent buying less fruit and vegetables.

They said 24 percent of shoppers are trading down, or buying what they perceive to be lower quality products.

Their research also showed an 8 percent dip in trust in UK food since Red Tractor published its first Trust in Food Index last year, with trust in supermarkets down 20 percent.

In other findings, the research found that people believe Brexit is having an impact on food, with 26 percent of respondents saying they felt the quality of food in the UK has been falling over the last two years.

Furthermore, 43 percent of consumers believe that new trade deals will reduce standards of food in the UK further.

The research found the United States and India – both countries with which the UK government is seeking trade deals – have very low levels of trust, with 27 percent and 18 percent of consumers trusting food that originates in those countries respectively.

Industry data published on Tuesday showed UK grocery inflation hit 9.9 percent in the four weeks to July 10, adding 454 pounds ($545) to Britons' annual bills.

Market researcher Kantar said as prices rise, Britons are increasingly turning to discounters and own-label products to keep a lid on the cost of their weekly shop.

Food inflation could reach 15 percent this summer and 20 percent early next year, according to some forecasts.

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