As UK grocery inflation hits records, seafood sales plummet

As UK food inflation hit a new high in September 2022, sales of chilled fish continue to decline.

Inflation of 13.9% – a record since data and advisory firm Kantar began tracking prices in 2008 – is expected to add GBP 643 (USD 722, EUR 739) to the average annual grocery bill, the company said in a press release.

Food sales increased 4.8% for the quarter ending October 2, 2022.

“Inflation continues to play an important role in the performance of meat, fish and poultry, with the market still seeing high average price growth and steep volume declines,” Kantar noted in his update. of the meat, fish and poultry market covering the 12 weeks ending 4 September.

While fresh primary meat and poultry saw a slight increase in value, rising 1.4%, overall chilled fish sales fell 4% in September.

Declines in sales were seen in all seafood categories except shellfish, which rose 1% in sales and 1.5% in volume.

Breaded fish saw the largest drop in sales, down 11.6% in the quarter, while value-added seafood sales fell 8.9%. Sales of breaded items fell 5%, sales of smoked seafood fell 4.9% and sales of natural products fell 1.1%.

The volume of chilled fish sales fell 9.9%, while the volume of value added decreased 15.2% and the volume of breaded products fell 16.3%.

“Value added struggled, driven by frequency reductions (down 9%), while the decline saw penetration fall from 4.1% to 3.7%,” Kantar said.

The cost of living crisis is “still hitting people hard at checkouts,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insights at Kantar.

Shoppers are sticking to the type of foods they “know and love,” while looking for cheaper alternatives such as private label. Sales of supermarket own-brand ranges jumped 8.1% in September, while branded items fell 0.7%.

“We don’t see dramatic evidence of regime change. For example, while frozen vegetables[etable] sales have increased slightly, there has been no big change from fresh produce, which is still worth 10 times more,” McKevitt said.

Shoppers are also finding other ways to get the items they want for less, according to McKevitt.

“People are savvy enough to look for the best value, and retailers are expanding their lines to help them do that,” McKevitt said. “In recent years, we’ve seen grocers make a virtue of visually imperfect fruits and vegetables, allowing them to continue to offer the fresh produce consumers crave, but at a cheaper price.

According to Kantar, consumers’ commitment to purchasing environmentally friendly products is under pressure due to financial pressures. The proportion of UK shoppers trying to buy products with more environmentally friendly packaging is 59%, up from 62% last year, according to McKevitt.

Rising energy bills are also causing consumer spending to tighten, and shoppers are looking for cheaper ways to cook while trying to avoid using their ovens. Sales of cooking appliances, including slow cookers, air fryers and sandwich makers, which generally consume less energy, increased by 53%.

For the fifth consecutive month, Lidl was the fastest growing grocer, with sales up 20.9% in the quarter, while Aldi’s sales also jumped 20.7%.

Asda led the way among the largest traditional supermarkets, increasing sales by 4.5%, according to McKevitt.

“It has been particularly successful in attracting new buyers over the past 12 weeks, attracting 417,000 more customers than last year,” he said.

Tesco’s sales rose 2.5% in the quarter, according to Kantar, but the grocer reported a 64 percent profit loss in the first half of 2022.

In addition, the huge grocery chain plans to cut 325 jobs at its headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, UK.

“Last month, we announced some changes to a small number of roles across our regional offices and teams, to ensure that our business is as simple and efficient as possible and that we can continue to invest for our clients,” said a Tesco spokesperson. says SeafoodSource.

Photo courtesy of Tupungato/Shutterstock

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