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UK consumers buy more food than they need

17 October 2013

SHOPPING HABITS. Despite their best intentions, Brits are experts in making unplanned impulse buys. Three in ten UK consumers admit to spending more on groceries deemed ‘non-essential’ than they need to. In particular, indulgent items such as sweets and confectionery are likely to end up in our shopping baskets as unnecessary extras.

A total of 83% of UK consumers say that they have made changes to their shopping habits over the last five years. According to a survey by Canadean Custom Solutions, 35% have made active attempts to reduce food waste and 32% have tried to spend less on non-essential groceries. The primary reasons for these changes have been to save money and try to improve dietary plans. 30% of UK adults believe that they spend too much money on food and drink they deem non-essential. Those aged 25-34 years old are the worst, with 35% confessing to do this.

Of those who believe they spend too much money on food and drink, impulse items such as sweets and confectionery (38%), chocolate (36%) and crisps and savoury snacks (36%) are the groceries people believe they spend too much money on. When it comes to other indulgent categories such as alcohol, wine (21%) is the beverage that consumers say they spend too much money on, compared to beer (16%) and spirits (11%).

According to Michael Hughes, Research Manager at Canadean Custom Solutions, the research shows that despite their best intentions, consumers are becoming fatigued with recessionary style spending habits and attempts to become healthier. An ongoing sense of entitlement, combined with daily pressures driving the desire for small indulgences, means that consumers will continue to spend more on non-essential food and drink than they need to.

Hughes states “despite attempts to modify their shopping and spending habits, impulse categories such as confectionery, crisps and chocolate remain too tempting for consumers to resist. The desire for small indulgences on a daily basis means that despite their best intentions consumers will continue to buy more non-essential food and drink products than they need”.

Hughes concludes “this is particularly true when products are on offer and consumers feel they do a bargain”.

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