Supermarkets shift focus to non-food as food sales fall

Cash-strapped shoppers are not only cutting back on buying premium-range food but sales of food in general are on the slide – and supermarkets are now devoting more space to non-food items such as homewares and electrical appliances.

Supermarkets shift focus to non-food as food sales fall

New research from Mintel reveals dramatic changes in the way consumers are buying food, with 41% of shoppers switching to cheaper brands in the last year and 34% cutting down on premium ranges.

In addition, 66% now look for promotions and deals more often, while 29% spend more time comparing prices in the supermarket.

Hard discounters like Lidl and Aldi have also become much more popular, says Mintel, and in response Asda is now focusing on its entry-level prices and Tesco has just launched an ultra-low-priced range called Market Value.

Volume sales in the overall food retail market have also dropped for the first time, and Mintel says that many supermarkets are now dedicating much more space to interiors, electrical appliances and clothing.

Says Richard Perks, director of retail research at Mintel: “During the recent years of unprecedented prosperity in Britain, we saw a very noticeable shift towards premium, up-market food, with shoppers buying more luxurious ready meals and exotic produce. But in the space of just a few months this trend has already started to be reversed.”

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