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Business of Food

UK grocery shoppers among the most frugal in the world, says Deloitte report

James Halliwell
2 min read
AUTHOR: James Halliwell

A new report from Deloitte into grocery shoppers around the world has found the UK scores “relatively highly” when it comes to being frugal in the aisles, compared to other countries. 

Investigating the impact on supermarket spending as inflation increased prices, Deloitte said though the UK was not alone in being hit by inflation, it ranked above other countries on its Food Frugality Index (FFI), which Deloitte said captures “longitudinal change across six cost-saving behaviours.”

These include shoppers only buying the essentials they need, or less than they need, purchasing own-label products, and trading down to cheaper cuts of meat. 

“In the United Kingdom, frugality has been relatively high, even as inflation rates eased in recent months,” said Deloitte. 

“Food inflation, rather than overall inflation, might provide a clue as to why. While overall inflation has decreased since October in the UK, food inflation hasn’t followed suit, it rose by 16.8% in December 2022, marking the biggest annual jump in food prices in the country since 1977.”

It added that FFI volatility varies significantly by country, driven by local economic conditions such as inflation trends. 

For instance, it said in the US, year-over-year inflation rates for food eaten at home increased more than 10-fold over the last 18 months ending in December 2022, and these spiking prices have been “especially tough on lower-income households, as they generally spend a greater portion of their funds on food, so are even more exposed.” 

Deloitte said this could have broader implications on wider consumer spending, adding that concern over the price of everyday purchases like milk and eggs could “spark a frugality ripple effect across other purchase categories. Globally, consumer discretionary spending intentions have been slipping over the past year and weakening retail sales have started to echo the sentiment.” 

The Deloitte report studied nearly a dozen grocery behaviours from thousands of consumers around the world, over a five-month period. It found six had a strong connection to consumer frugality. 

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